In 1760, Joshua (Ivan Kaye) and Naomi Collins (Susanna Cappellaro) sail from Liverpool to North America. They set up a fishing port in Maine called Collinsport, and also build Collinwood Manor. Their son, Barnabas (Johnny Depp), grows up to be a wealthy playboy in the town. He breaks the heart of one of their servants, Angelique Bouchard (Eva Green), who is a witch and kills his parents in revenge and curses his family. He then studies dark magic to prove Angelique is in fact a witch, falling in love with Josette du Pres (Bella Heathcote) in the meantime. Angelique, in an act of jealousy, puts a spell on Josette, which forces her to leap to her death from a nearby cliff called Widow's Peak. Barnabas runs after Josette but he arrives too late. He jumps over the cliff to kill himself, but Angelique has already turned Barnabas into a vampire before he reaches the bottom. Soon after, Angelique convinces the townspeople that Barnabas is a vampire, having them capture him and bury him alive in a chained coffin in the woods.
In 1972, a woman named Maggie Evans (Bella Heathcote) travels by train to Collinsport, responding to an advertisement to be thegoverness to a young boy, David Collins (Gulliver McGrath). While on the train, she decides to change her name to Victoria Winters, practicing asking the family to call her "Vicky". She hitches a ride with hippies to Collinwood Manor, where she meets Elizabeth Collins Stoddard (Michelle Pfeiffer), the matriarch of the family, and the families' servants, Willie Loomis (Jackie Earle Haley) and old Mrs. Johnson (Ray Shirley). It is explained that David's mother died at sea and he believes his mother speaks to him. Elizabeth takes Victoria on a tour of Collinwood Manor, which is falling into disrepair. While on the tour, Victoria meets Elizabeth's 15-year-old rebellious and provocative daughter Carolyn (Chloë Grace Moretz). At dinner, Victoria meets the rest of the dysfunctional family: Roger (Jonny Lee Miller), Elizabeth's brother and indifferent father of David, and Dr. Julia Hoffman (Helena Bonham Carter), an alcoholic psychiatrist who had been hired to help David overcome his belief that he can speak to his dead mother, but thus far has been unsuccessful. David appears in a sheet to look like a ghost, trying to frighten Victoria. David talks of his mother speaking to him, and Carolyn calls him crazy, but Victoria states she believes in ghosts. After dinner, Victoria is in her room and believes she sees David again appearing under the same sheet. She removes the sheet, but sees the ghost of Josette instead, who remarks "He's coming", before hovering to the large chandelier in the foyer and falling as she did from the cliff.
That night, Barnabas is accidentally freed from his coffin by a group of construction workers. He feeds on them and makes his way back to Collinwood Manor, finding his once-magnificent mansion in ruins. Barnabas convinces Elizabeth that he really is who he says he is, and asks her of the family curse and the story of how he died. She answers that nobody knows how he died so he explains that is because he didn't. Barnabas then shows her a secret room full of treasures as a proof of his identity. She says he may stay with them under two conditions: that he tells no one else of the riches in the secret room and that he tells no one that he is a vampire, to which Barnabas agrees. Barnabas is introduced to the family at breakfast. Elizabeth explains that he is a distant relative from England and Barnabas explains he has come to help the family restore their business and family name.
Angelique, now a respected and successful resident of Collinsport, soon discovers that he has escaped his shallow grave. She wants to win him back so she visits the mansion and tells him to join her or he will regret it. He tells her he has no feelings for her and she leaves. He discovers that his family's fishing company is in ruins because of Angelique's business, Angel Bay Fishery, and takes steps to revitalize and rebuild the company (and the mansion), gaining the trust of the family in the process. As the Collins' fishery begins to pick up, Angelique calls Barnabas to her office for a meeting, again offering that he either join and love her or she will destroy him and everything he loves. She manages to seduce him and they make love, wrecking her office in doing so. But when they are finished, he says can never love her as he has fallen in love with Victoria, again leaving. Barnabas turns to Carolyn for help as he tries to win over the heart of Victoria but doesn't know how. Carolyn explains he needs to be less "weird" and tells him he should get some normal friends. Later that night Barnabas goes out into the woods with the same hippies that drove Victoria to the mansion. They discuss love before Barnabas regretfully feeds on them.
The next day, Dr. Hoffman hypnotizes Barnabas in a therapy session and he confesses to being a vampire, as well as to the murders of the construction workers and the hippies. She is shocked and fascinated by him and runs to Elizabeth to ask why she keeps such a secret to herself. Elizabeth tells her not to tell anyone else of his secret. Dr. Hoffman offers to help turn Barnabas into a human via blood transfusions. At dinner, Barnabas decides to restore their name by having a ball. Carolyn retorts that they need to have a party instead, suggesting Alice Cooper as entertainment. Barnabas agrees and they throw a party for the entire town at their mansion, at which Alice Cooper performs. On a balcony outside of the party, Barnabas finds Victoria, to whom he expresses his love. She explains her troubling past to him through flashbacks. It is revealed that Victoria was sent to a mental hospital by her parents for talking to the ghost of Barnabas' love, Josette. She is seen getting electroshock treatment as a child, then escaping through the window with sheets years later. They passionately kiss after she says she feels like she has always known him. Angelique crashes the party and sees Barnabas and Victoria kissing, becoming enraged. The next day, Barnabas discovers Dr. Hoffman is not giving him human blood, but taking several pints of his blood instead to turn herself into a vampire to avoid growing old. Enraged, Barnabas presumably kills her by draining her dry and dumps her body in the ocean with Willie's help. He then discovers David's sleazy father Roger snooping around the study, trying to find the secret room. Barnabas gives him a choice: stay and be a father or leave; Roger chooses the latter. Right after Roger leaves, Barnabas accidentally stands in a beam of sunlight after saving David from a falling disco ball and his skin burns. His secret is revealed to the children and Victoria and they are horrified.
Barnabas meets with Angelique that night and refuses her offer once more to cooperate with her to run the town, also refusing to return her love. While leaving her office, he is forced into a coffin waiting for him right outside her door, and Angelique then binds him with chains and drives him to the cemetery, leaving the coffin in a crypt and telling Barnabas she will destroy everything he loves and then come back for him in a few days. Just before driving to the cemetery, she blows up the rebuilt Collins canning factory by reciting a spell. While the fire is still raging, David learns from his mother that Barnabas has been locked up and where to find him. David goes to the crypt and frees Barnabas from the coffin. While the police and firefighters try to put out the fire, Angelique plays a cassette recording she recorded during her last meeting with Barnabas in which he confesses to being a vampire and killing the construction workers, the hippies, and Dr. Hoffman, revealing that the Collins family is harboring a murderer. This turns the townspeople against the family once more, leading them to the mansion. At the mansion, Angelique is shocked to see that Barnabas has escaped. Barnabas offers to be arrested in place of the family, but then grabs Angelique, prompting a policeman to shoot him several times. Revealed as immortal, he then shows the townspeople Angelique is a witch: as he squeezes her, her skin cracks like porcelain. The townspeople run away from the mansion in horror. Angelique sets the mansion on fire, and brings the wooden statues and portraits to life, as well as making blood run down the walls of the living room and splintering the wood of the mansion. Carolyn, who is revealed as being a werewolf (because Angelique had sent a werewolf to bite her as a baby), fights her, but is beaten back. Elizabeth, armed with a shotgun, stands up to Angelique, and David summons the ghost of his mother Laura (whom Angelique admits killing), who throws her into the chandelier. Angelique, her porcelain skin fracturing, literally offers her heart to Barnabas, insisting she did in fact love him, but he refuses, telling her she isn't capable of love and only wanted to control him. Upon being rejected by Barnabas, her heart literally breaks and she dies. Barnabas looks for Victoria, who hasn't been seen since it was revealed that he was a vampire. David tells him that his mother said she is headed for Widow's Peak. Barnabas catches up with her there, but Victoria tells him that they can never be together as she lives in the light and he lives in the shadows. Angelique's spell makes Victoria jump over the cliff. Barnabas jumps off after her and bites her on the way down, turning her into a vampire to save her life. Afterward, Victoria tells Barnabas to call her Josette, and Barnabas narrates that his curse has ended. The film then ends underwater, with a school of fish swimming away from the body of Dr. Hoffman, who opens her eyes, revealing that she too is now a vampire.
A lot of people who watched this movie didn't really appreciate it. They said that they didn't like the plot. One even said that Tim Burton + Johnny Depp does not always work or turn out good. Maybe they just didn't understand the movie or they were just expecting more. I know that this was based from a classic soap opera. Didn't really know the story of the classic series. But the movie was again another hit for Tim Burton, at least for me. I still love how he made the movie. It still had the Tim Burton touch, the weirdness in all of his works. This what I loved in his movies. So still a thumbs up for you Tim! And Johnny as well! ^_^
Every family has its demons.