“They say blood is thicker than water” is the opening salvo of Dark Shadows, director Tim Burton’s latest movie, showing in theatres today. From the looks of it, it is also Burton's return to his dark and campy roots. And with Johnny Depp— this is the duo's eighth collaboration, yo!— Burton shines light on this comically strange take on dysfunctional families and the cursed misconceptions of tragic love.
Dark Shadows is the remake of a cult TV series that aired in the late 1960s, of which we know little about. But not having knowledge on the series does not take away from the fang-filled fun and fresh thrills that the movie delivers.
Barnabas Collinswood (Depp) is a wealthy and powerful playboy in 17th century Collinsport, Maine, a fishing village that his father built from the ground up. As tge Master of Collinswood Manor, Barnabas toys with the affections of a servant girl, Angelique (Eva Green). But when he falls head-over-heels in love with Josette (Bella Heathcote), a jealous Angelique pulls out her witch bitch sorcery, killing Josette and cursing Barnabas to be a vampire. He is trapped by the townspeople, chained and buried in a coffin six feet under.
200 years later, it’s 1972. The music of Iggy Pop, David Bowie, and The Carpenters fill the airwaves as Barnabas is accidentally exhumed from his grave. He returns to his ancestral home to be met by his offbeat descendants and a few other quirky residents. Only, the once-prominent family is now kind of pathetic, and Collinsport is now Angel Bay, run by seafood mogul Angie (same witch bitch). Barnabas promises to redeem the family name, and at the same time, win the heart of the manor’s new governess Vicky (also played by Heathcote).
Depp’s blood-sucker-out-of-his-element performance is a delight of comedic one-liners and awkward encounters: “What is this sorcery? Reveal yourself tiny songstress!” he says, screaming at a live television performance of Karen Carpenter performing “Top of the World”. A displaced vampire discovering new technologies (now retro to the Twitter-frenzied audience) is the perfect vehicle for the enigmatic actor. Burton and Depp have worked side by side for so long that every mark with regards to the leading man is on point and never contrived.
NEXT: Outstanding performances from Michelle Pfeiffer and Helena Bonham Carter
IMAGES COURTESY OF WARNER BROS.