It’s simple: if you are a Depp fan, you must see “Dark Shadows.”
“Dark Shadows” is not Tim Burton’s best film. It has flaws. But it has Johnny Depp in a meaty role as the vampire Barnabas Collins. Depp is the reason to see the movie.
Another good is Eva Green as the witch Angelique. She looks great and she has fun with the role.
The two share a lovemaking scene that’s a classic. It’s not particularly sexy, but the way they literally bounce off the walls is ridiculously outrageous. At the end of their tryst, the room looks more like the site of a violent brawl than that of a hookup.
The story is set in 1972. After spending over two centuries underground in a casket, Barnabas is dug up by a construction crew. As he encounters modern life, he experiences some amusing culture shock.
We, the audience, get to enjoy our time travel backward 40 years to the cars and culture of ’72. “Deliverance” and “Superfly” are on movie marquees; the Carpenters sing “Top of the World” on a TV show. (One notable anachronism: Lyrics are recited from Steve Miller’s “The Joker,” which did not come along until 1973. And the Raspberries 1972 hit “Go All the Way,” which played over the closing credits, was not the original hit version—shameful!)
Since Barnabas spurned Angelique’s romantic overtures in the 1700’s, she turned him into a vampire and sent him to his 200+ year dirt nap. When he comes alive again in ’72, she’s still around and still desiring Barnabas.
Another reason to see the movie is the amazing 15-year-old Chloe Grace Maretz as the daughter of the ’72 era matriarch of the Collins clan. This young woman (best known for “Hugo,” “Kick-Ass” and “30 Rock”) sparkles on the big and small screens. With the right role, she could be an Oscar winner by age 21.
Add in Alice Cooper performing “No More Mr. Nice Guy,” and you have another hook to lure you in.
“Dark Shadows” is uneven and may fall short of some expectations/anticipations. But I like Depp, even in his less-than-awesome movies, and he’s fun to watch here.