14A, 113 minutes
Johnny Depp; Michelle Pfeiffer; Helena Bonham Carter; Eva Green
The new movie follows the original show’s plot-bible, with prefatory scenes set in the 18th century, when young Barnabas journeys from Liverpool to the family’s new home in a Maine fishing village soon to be renamed Collinsport. The boy has won the ardor of the low-born brunette Angelique but, as he comes to young manhood, he falls in love with the aristocratic blonde Josette DuPres (Bella Heathcote). Using some satanic powers she has mysteriously acquired, Angelique (Eva Green) casts a spell that sends Josette to her death from a high cliff; and, for bad measure, she transforms Barnabas into a vampire and locks him alive in a coffin. He is inadvertently freed in 1972 by some workmen digging up the site.
He finds his beloved Collinwood in a state of disrepair that is dank, fetid and truly fabulous-looking . While warily welcoming Barnabas, Elizabeth tries supervising the truculent Collins brood: her wastrel son Roger (Jonny Lee Miller) and his troubled boy David (Gulliver McGrath) and her teenage granddaughter Carolyn (Chloë Grace Moretz). Also on the premises are the psychiatrist Julia Hoffman (Helena Bonham Carter), a reprobate handyman (Jackie Earle Haley) and a young governess (Heathcote again) who calls herself Victoria Winters but is the exact image of Barnabas’ lost love Josette. The whole clan has been reduced to shabby-genteel poverty because the local fishing concession, on which they once held a monopoly, is now in the clutches of a take-charge blonde named Angie (Green again) — or, as we knew her from the movie’s first five minutes, the witchly Angelique.
Richard Corliss - Time