Actor Johnny Depp and director Tim Burton have teamed up again to bring the cult classic "Dark Shadows" to the big screen. Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly magazine filed the following review.
When you go in to see Tim Burton’s "Dark Shadows", a baroquely funny and Burtonized update of the gothic oddball vampire soap opera that ran on ABC from 1966 to 1971, it seems a safe bet that Johnny Depp, as Barnabas Collins, is going to be the freakiest person on screen. He is, but not in the way I expected. Barnabas shows up in the fishing village of Collinsport, Maine in 1972 after having spent 200 years in a coffin. He has a stiff, stately walk, and a hairdo of staggered bangs that make it look as if he’d just come from the Vidal Sassoon of Transylvania. He’s not just undead; in the hippie-gone-glam era of the early ‘70s, he’s mind-bendingly uncool. Which, ironically, is what sort of is cool about him.
Depp’s performance is more than just funny, it’s ghoulishly endearing. He caresses each line with great care, as if it were a piece of candy he’s unwrapping, and he gives Barnabas a quality of almost elfin innocence that recalls the characters Depp has memorably played for Burton, like "Edward Scissorhands" and "Ed Wood". But "Dark Shadows", entertaining as it is, is a milder echo of those earlier collaborations. Burton references cheeky time capsule artifacts, like lava lamps and Troll dolls. He piles on period pop chestnuts like the Carpenters’ “Top of the World” and he stages a trippy grand ball presided over by Alice Cooper. I found much of this stuff irresistible, but "Dark Shadows" is likably skewed fun that, at times, is a little too knowing about being a piece of kitsch.
The original "Dark Shadows" was a tale of bloodsuckers told in the slightly depressed, badly lit style of "Days of Our Lives". Burton devises his own goofy riffs on the material. Barnabas moves in with his family descendants, who are walking one-note quirks, and he sets out to the family fishery business -- which means he must once again face down Angelique, the witch whose advances he spurned two centuries ago and who got her vengeance by turning him into a vampire.
Eva Green, who had such a complex allure in "Casino Royale", here makes herself over into an S&M vixen with a crooked leer of a smile. "Dark Shadows" is a soap-opera love triangle. Yet its real love affair is the one between Johnny Depp and the audience that’s still hooked on seeing him get his freak on.