"Every family has its demons." Apparently so do most directors. When will Tim Burton learn that putting the same cast and crew together doesn’t always equal the same success had with previous films. In this case it equals disaster. It feels like Burton has tried to fit an entire TV series into two hours. The characters aren’t developed properly, a lot of them are unnecessary and the story ends in the most ridiculous twenty minutes I’ve seen. The only saving grace is Johnny Depp who is wonderful. Oh, and Eva Green’s lipstick.

The storyline starts off promisingly with Barnabas Collins (Depp), a 17th century vampire, struggling to adapt to life in the 70s after being woken from a two hundred year nap. The love of his life has been killed by a jealous witch (Green) and he has been turned into a seemingly friendly vampire who has a bit of a mean streak. I pity the workmen who dug him up. It’s very funny watching Barnabas walk onto a road and become completely baffled by it. There’s another brilliant moment where Barnabas rips a TV apart and shouts “reveal yourself tiny songstress” at Karen Carpenter but that’s about it as far as humour goes. That’s where the story should have gone. It should have followed his confusion at the new world he’s been thrown into instead of going down the bizarre supernatural road it does.

About half an hour in, the film leaves behind any sanity, humour or decency and descends into madness. Eva Green returns as the now blonde witch who demands Barnabas’ love but grows more frantic and evil as she realises he won’t love her. The 70s Collins family gets weirder with Helena Bonham-Carter attempting to become immortal and a revelation from Mortez near the end which isn’t properly introduced or explained. There’s also a ghost, a useless father, a decrepit housekeeper and a gardener who all could have been cut from the story. They have little or no bearing on the story and would have made more space to develop the main characters had they been cut. Michelle Pfeiffer is actually quite good as the apparent head of the family but she’s not given enough time to develop properly. You could quite easily make a decent film using Depp, Pfeiffer, Green, Heathcote and McGrath. They’re the only characters who are necessary to the film. There’s also a fun game you can play when watching this. It’s called “How Many Things Have Been Lifted From Edward Scissorhands?” A good two minutes and a few other shots is the answer.

Tim Burton has attempted comedy-horror, something he’s done very well previously with Beetlejuice, but has ended up with a soul crushing two hour monstrosity. He needs to go back to Alice In Wonderland and 9 to save himself from the hole in the film industry he’s digging for himself. His best films are the ones that don’t feel like they’re made by him. Even Johnny Depp can’t save Dark Shadows, and neither can Eva’s lipstick.