The film starts in the year 1760, where the Collins along with their young son Barnabas leave Liverpool and travel to the United States, where they open up a fishing port in Maine. Years go by and Barnabas (Johnny Depp) grows up to be somewhat of a playboy, fooling around a servant, Angelique Bouchard (Eva Green), who is actually a powerful witch. Barnabas falls in love with Josette du Pres and rejects Angelique’s affections, but the witch doesn’t like rejection. She forces Josette to jump off a cliff, and one by one the Collins die. All but Barnabas as Angelique has cursed him into a vampire. When the town people find out about the vampire, they chain Barnabas inside a coffin and bury him.
It’s now 1972 and a young woman named Maggie Evans is arriving at the Collinwood Manor. She is running away from her haunting past and uses the name Victoria Winters as she accepts the job as David Collin’s governess.