I have never seen an episode of the Dark Shadows soap opera from the 60s and 70s, so I have no idea how faithful this movie is to the show. Will fans of the show like this movie better than I did, or will they be even more disappointed? No idea, but this movie sucks.
In the 1700s Barnabas Collins and his parents moved from England to Maine. They started a fishing business, and became so successful that the town of Collinsport was named after them. They also built a huge gothic mansion called Collinwood Manor. Barnabas broke the heart of a witch named Angelique, and she took her revenge. First she killed his parents, then she killed his fiancee. When he tried to kill himself, she turned him into a vampire. Then she lead the townspeople to capture him and imprison him in a coffin. The chained the coffin shut and buried him. This reminds me of what the vampires tried to do to Brad Pitt in Interview With the Vampire, but I digress.
200 years go by and Barnabas is set free by construction workers. After killing them (he says to one "Sorry about this but you have no idea how thirsty I am."), he returns to Collinwood Manor. He finds his descendants living there and the fishing business is close to ruin.
That's about all there is to the story. The rest of the movie is just spending time with the family, and Angelique trying to win him back. He doesn't seem that upset at her for what she did to him, and she is still in love with him. But she does threaten to kill his family and imprison him again if he doesn't love her.
The only entertaining stuff in the movie is Barnabas reacting to the 20th century. McDonald's, cars, television, and lava lamps are all foreign to him. I enjoyed the way he spoke with his semi-british victorian accent, and some of his lines were really funny. But aside from that, the movie bored me to tears. There is barely any story there. Sub plots are set up and not paid off. We waste time with characters who seem important, then disappear for long stretches at a time.
That's about all the effort I can muster to talk about this movie. There are 15 funny minutes in there, the rest is a total waste of time. Oh, and Michelle Pfeiffer and Chloe Grace Moretz give the worst performances of their careers. They're good actors, so I blame Tim Burton and the screenwriter for giving them nothing interesting to work with.