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Tim Burton and Johnny Depp’s eighth outing together couldn’t be more suited to the kooky duo’s sensibilities.

Dark Shadows is a a gothic-styled horror-comedy, adapted from a camp Seventies TV show, laden with fractured families, lost lonely young boys and all manner of witches, vampires and dark magic. It’s remarkably funny, too.

Depp is Barnabas Collins, a 18th-century vampire who has been freed from 200 years inside a coffin, the penance he paid for spurning Eva Green’s broken-hearted witch, Angelique. Awoken into 1972, he finds his once-prosperous family on the slide. Taking up with his descendants, he sets about getting the Collinses back on track, turning their coastal cannery business’s fortune around, only to find its decline has something to do with the broomstick-rider he rejected.

Depp is on song, his reactions to a world of hippies, McDonalds, lava lamps and Alice Cooper (the ugliest woman he’s even seen) are priceless, and many of the film’s best lines come from this culture-clash. Decent support comes from Michelle Pfeiffer as the modern-day matriarch, Chloe Grace Moretz as her hormonal teen, and Burton regular Helena Bonham Carter as a grogg-sozzled live-in psychiatrist (in this household, she’s definitely needed).

A couple of the plot strands are not quite fleshed out as much as you’d like – particularly the Collinses’ new governess (Aussie Bella Heathcote), who never gets the screentime needed for her pivotal role. But with Burton and Depp in such good form, it’s a hugely entertaining blast, loaded with the offbeat comedy you’d expect.

Good for: Those left looking for vintage Burton after Alice In Wonderland and Wonka.


3 out of 5 stars

Starring: Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter  | 12A | 113mins


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Film review: Dark Shadows with Johnny Depp
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