Depp is an excellent vampire

Dark Shadows Warner Bros. Rating: 14A 113 minutes

The original Dark Shadows was a daily gothic soap opera that ran from 1966 to 1971, churning out 1,225 episodes. The new movie of the same name is a homage and a satire of the series, still a cult favourite.

Johnny Depp stars (he also helped produce it) as Barnabas Collins, the most popular character from the series. It opens in the 1770s when he’s a vampire in love, but an evil witch (Eva Green) kills his love and locks Depp away in chains and a coffin for 200 years.

When he’s dug up he reunites with his family (Michelle Pfeiffer now is the matriarch of the dysfunctional family) and tries to restore their failing fishing empire. Of course, Green the evil witch is still around to foil him, especially since Depp still won’t accept her unwanted advances.

The movie starts well. Depp is amusing as he fumbles and tries to understand the changes 200 years have wrought. There is a lot of tongue-in-cheek humour, aided by the judicious use of 70s pop music and the cast is well into it. At one point we even have Alice Cooper (described by Depp as “the ugliest woman I’ve ever seen”) performing at a happening.

However, by half way through the film is running out of steam, as if director Tim Burton and the writers don’t know where to take it. Depp is a very good vampire, but the script lets him down.

Rating: three deer out of five

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Alf Cryderman is a Red Deer freelance writer and old movie buff.