Tim Burton proves conclusively that there is really only one string to his bow with this creepy, kooky, spooky, largely tedious tale of vampires, werewolves, witches and movie stars in far too much eyeliner.
A remake of a 1970s US TV series, the film sees eighteenth-century vampire Barnabas Collins (Johnny Depp – surprise!) entombed for 200 years by evil sorceress Angelique (Eva Green). Freed in swinging 1972, Barnabas is introduced to his surviving descendants – matriarch Elizabeth (Michelle Pfeiffer), sultry teen Carolyn (Chloe Grace Moretz) and eerie ten-year-old David (Gulliver McGrath) and attempts to get the family back on track by reviving their ailing fish canning business.
The idea of a louche Georgian vampire running a fish cannery in 1970s New England has a certain offbeat charm, but leave it to Burton to go completely overboard in the wackiness stakes, dragging ghosts, hippies, angry mobs and even poor Alice Cooper into an already overloaded (and seriously overlong) story. The haphazard plotting and tonal inconsistency reach their zenith in a scene in which one character outs herself, inexplicably, as a werewolf. But, by that point, any sane audience will have stopped caring. Perhaps it’s high time that Burton put down that Edward Gorey annual, switched off the Vincent Price movies, mothballed those Bauhaus records, got out in the fresh air and found something new to say.