Tagline: Every Family Has Its Demons
Is there a double act in modern cinema quite like the duo of Tim Burton and Johnny Depp? Sure, you can point to Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio, but those two at least seem to make movies with other peple sometimes. Billion-dollar pirate franchises aside, Tim and Johnny could be practically monogamous. For their latest project, the duo set about remaking an old TV favorite (Dark Shadows aired on ABC between 1966-1971, dominating the after-school time slot).
The program was about the family life of vampire Barnabas Collins (sadly, the original actor Jonathan Frid, died just weeks before the premiere of the movie at the age of 87). Back in the day, Barnabas was a rich, powerful playboy who made the grave error of breaking the heart of Angelique Bouchard (Eva Green), a local witch. Bouchard, in return, turns him into a vampire and buries him alive. Two centuries on, Barnabas is inadvertently freed from his tomb and blinks his way into the light of 1972. All hell, you suspect, will break lose.
Unfortunately, some of that hell is being unleashed on the film itself — surprising, considering how many film critics often appear to be in the tank for the Burton/Depp projects. “The humor slithers between the clever and the sophomoric and the film too often seems willing to settle for mild humor at the expense of hippie-era mores instead of pursuing the palpable temptation to become genuinely twisted,” notes the Hollywood Reporter. “Less a resurrection than a clumsy desecration,” slams the Village Voice. Time Out New York offers a modicum of support, stating that, “filled to bursting with voracious stares and high collars (and even an Alice Cooper cameo), Dark Shadows struts its glam harder than any film since Velvet Goldmine — again, a good thing.” Whether you’ll have a good time is a different matter.