Johnny Depp plays Barnabas Collins, a man who’s cursed with the worst fate a man can suffer – a woman’s scorn. Angelique (Eva Green) is a girl who falls in love with Barnabas but as her affections are unrequited, she plots against him. Unfortunately for Barnabas, Angelique is a witch and she throws his true love off a cliff and curses him with living forever, as a vampire. She turns the towns people against him and Baranbas is locked in a coffin for eternity until 200 years later, construction workers dig him up. The rivalry between the witch and the vampire begins again.
The real laughs begin when watching Barnabas try to get to grips with the 1970’s but there is something all too familiar about an out of place man in the ‘modern’ ages. In fact, Dark Shadows very much reminded me of Edward Scissorhands – a tale about an outsider who doesn’t understand the world completely and gets driven away by violent villagers.
Although there are these similarities, Dark Shadows manages to be different. The character of Barnabas is fantastically portrayed by Depp, he’s witty, charming and even though he kills a few innocent people – he’s surprisingly likeable. It was also a nice surprise to see Eva Green as a completely different character than we’re used to and she makes the despicable Angelique sexy, seductive and incredibly evil.
Many people criticise the constant pairing of Johnny Depp and Tim Burton but let’s be honest, it works and it was great to see Burton back doing a proper gothic film again. The sets are stunning, part fantasy, part reality for example the dusty old Collin’s family home is beautiful and really sets the scene for such a family. The make-up and CGI impress too, especially Angelique’s porcelain skin, although I’m not sure every single person in the film needed white make-up. We get it Tim, it’s gothic but don’t over-do it.
Combining the 1700s with the 1970’s was a great idea; mostly for the great music, clothes and hair-dos that go with it. It also meant the film gets a cameo from Alice Cooper himself which Barnabas declares is “the ugliest woman I’ve ever seen.”
Dark Shadows isn’t just funny – there are some wonderfully dark parts to the story, true Tim Burton style. The Collin’s children are misunderstood and have unfortunate pasts and presents, something which Burton loves to do as he felt his childhood was always slightly dark.
Dark Shadows looks good, sounds good and the story between the evil witch and loving vampire is definitely enough to keep your attention span. The humour makes sure the film isn’t too dark but there’s definitely enough sorrow to satisfy any avid Burton fan. And, may I now say, well done Burton for doing a decent vampire love story and welcome back to the genre you are perfect at.