Dark Shadows, a kinky love triangle, is true, in its fashion, to the spirit of the old soap opera. Yet its real love affair is between Johnny Depp and the audience who's still hooked on seeing him get his freak on.
Owen Gleiberman - Entertainment Weekly
"Dark Shadows" isn't among Mr. Burton's most richly realized works, but it's very enjoyable, visually sumptuous and, despite its lugubrious source material and a sporadic tremor of violence, surprisingly effervescent.
Manohla Dargis - New York Times
Burton's offbeat montages are amusing, but the story's slow start and overblown conclusion make Dark Shadows half a good movie.
Claudia Puig - USA Today
At once a brash, strutting pop culture pastiche and gloomy exercise in self-cannibalizing nostalgia, "Dark Shadows" is depressing on myriad levels.
Ann Hornaday - Washington Post
Tim Burton has got his groove back.
Ty Burr - Boston Globe
Less a resurrection than a clumsy desecration.
Nick Pinkerton - Village Voice
Whether it works is a matter of taste, but the fact that Burton's revisit unearths enough fun while feeling like four films in one is testament to the source's seductive bloodline.
Joe Neumaier - New York Daily News
"Dark Shadows" is amusing, in fits and spurts, and sure to make tons of money, but terribly familiar and fatigued.
Joe Morgenstern - Wall Street Journal
The film's biggest disappointment is the utter lack of chemistry between Depp and either Green or Heathcote.
Joy Tipping - Dallas Morning News
Mostly Dark Shadows is silly when we're trained to expect slightly richer fun from Burton and Depp.
Lisa Kennedy - Denver Post
In a time when even the most accomplished genre movies have the fingerprints of focus group-happy execs all over them, the relatively unmitigated quirk of Dark Shadows is worth celebrating.
Glenn Kenny - MSN Movies
This is not so much a coherent movie as it is a long, expensive joke in search of a purpose.
Anthony Lane - New Yorker
It offers wonderful things, but they aren't what's important. It's as if Burton directed at arm's length, unwilling to find juice in the story.
Roger Ebert - Chicago Sun-Times
"Dark Shadows" illustrates the fine line in a pop reboot between "relaxed" and "lazy."
Michael Phillips - Chicago Tribune
Tim Burton is like a billionaire fanboy who buys Bela Lugosi's Dracula cape: he has a perfect right to it, but that doesn't mean it looks good on him.
J. R. Jones - Chicago Reader
A nutty romp that's as much about celebrating a significant blip in the pop-cult continuum as it is a tale of bloodsucking, of grudge-holding, and the stress involved in maintaining a 200-room, two-century-old house.
Steven Rea - Philadelphia Inquirer
"Dark Shadows" opens promisingly, downshifts after 30 minutes, and sputters into a meandering, momentum-free mess.
Colin Covert - Minneapolis Star Tribune
How bad is "Dark Shadows"? It makes you long for a "Twilight" movie. That's bad.
Tom Long - Detroit News
All dressed up and no place to go.
Bill Goodykoontz - Arizona Republic
Few director-star partnerships are as consistently eccentric or malleable as that of Tim Burton and Johnny Depp, but even loyalists will detect an odor of mothballs clinging to their eighth bigscreen collaboration.
Justin Chang - Variety
"Dark Shadows'' certainly has its moments, especially when Barnabas and Angelique hilariously wreck her office during a surreal, CGI-fueled, PG-rated tryst.
Lou Lumenick - New York Post
Stumbles blindly along with Barnabas for most of its overlong 113 minutes, leaving viewers in the dark as to its intentions.
Peter Howell - Toronto Star
Can't decide whether it's a parody, a horror comedy, an atmospheric melodrama, or a tedious bucket of crap. Eventually it chooses the last one.
Eric D. Snider - Film.com
Dark Shadows' only meaningful relationship is between Depp and his audience. He's a persona now, no longer an actor.
Stephen Cole - Globe and Mail
"Dark Shadows" offers potent atmosphere and delirious '70s fashions and hilarious gags and some really terrific performances, none better than Pfeiffer's triumphant return to the screen as a pitch-perfect family matriarch.
Andrew O'Hehir - Salon.com
[Burton] and Depp, both avowed childhood fans of the original series, seem to be in their element and having a grand old time.
Dana Stevens - Slate
Dark Shadows is a mess, and it's unclear whether its bizarre recipe of comedy, campy horror, and gothic melodrama will satisfy anyone, regardless of their familiarity with the source material.
James Berardinelli - ReelViews
Dark Shadows sinks its teeth half-way into its potentially meaty material but hesitates to go all the way.
Todd McCarthy - Hollywood Reporter
The film itself takes awhile to get going as it establishes all those characters and back stories. Once there, it seems to have nowhere to go -- out of the shadows or into the light, it doesn't really matter either way.
Christy Lemire - Associated Press
Attention must be paid to movie allure, in a star like Depp and his current harem.
Richard Corliss - TIME Magazine
Burton's visuals are a sumptuous treat, as is Depp's unerring sense of mischief - but, after a fierce and funny start, Dark Shadows simply spins its wheels.
Peter Travers - Rolling Stone
Bipolar film that's equal parts comedy and horror show, with neither element particularly effective.
Richard Roeper - Richard Roeper.com
An uncertain combination of elements that unsuccessfully tries to be half-scary, half-funny and all strange...
Kenneth Turan - Los Angeles Times
Not just a bad film; it's evidence of people who are barely even trying.
Johnny Depp once again takes a role where he allows the make up and prosthetics to do the acting for him...
Felix Vasquez Jr. - Cinema Crazed
The nadir of Burton's career and is likely going to be his biggest flop, a film that's not a comedy, not a drama, not a horror film, and not a fantasy.
Will Leitch - Deadspin
The only reason to see Dark Shadows is to discover how dire and pointless-how flat-out dreadful-a movie can be even when it has Tim Burton, Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Helena Bonham Carter attached to its flimsy pretext.
David Thomson - The New Republic
There's more than enough here for us older folks - and some younger ones, too - to have us exclaiming, Fangs for the memories.
Al Alexander - The Patriot Ledger
Burton really needed to lean his horror-comedy more toward horror. Instead, it's reminiscent at times of Love at First Bite and the feature film remakes of The Addams Family and The Brady Bunch.
Matt Kelemen - Las Vegas CityLife
It turns into a bit of a mess towards the finish line, but at least it's a fun mess, and if you're looking to Tim Burton for narrative tidiness you must be thinking of another Tim Burton.
Rob Gonsalves - eFilmCritic.com
Dark Shadows should have been a return-to-form for director Tim Burton, but with a bloated budget and way too much room to play, Burton delivers yet another wasted effort.
R. L. Shaffer - IGN DVD
Made for an audience of no one, Dark Shadows is a mess of campy horror, "fish out of coffin" comedy, and gothic melodrama.
Brian Holcomb - CinemaBlend.com
Not a colossal failure but an indicator that Burton and Depp could stand to step outside their collective me + you = cinematic magic mindsets.
Ben Kendrick - ScreenRant
...following Graeme-Smith's lead, Burton has made, quite possibly, the worst film of his 30-year career.
Adam Ross - The Aristocrat
Dark Shadows is never short on stunning backdrops and impressive cinematographic techniques. It looks a treat. But with Dark Shadows, like Depp himself, you can only put so much make-up on an ageing face and sell it as fresh.
Patrick Kolan - Shotgun Critic
It's just sort of a star vehicle for Johnny Depp, with everyone and everything else a secondary consideration at best.
John J. Puccio - Movie Metropolis
It had so much potential, but given the result, it should have stayed in the shadows.
Jeff Beck - Examiner.com
Dark Shadows really is just a mixed bag of chuckles and drama that never really gets the balance quite right.
Matt Looker - TheShiznit.co.uk
While "Dark Shadows" has many wonderful elements, it is set up to become a new franchise for Warner Bros, but it just doesn't quite have that eternal bite.
Justin Craig - FoxNews.com
Captures the grand sweep and often ridiculous theatricality of both soap operas and gothic romance.
William Bibbiani - CraveOnline
There's much more bloody potential here for dark comedy (and shaded emotions) than we're lightly spattered with . . . offers no zany flourishes, dashing touches or striking shots.
Brian Gibson - Vue Weekly (Edmonton, Canada)
Dark Shadows makes almost no attempt to reward cinema audiences.
Charlie Lyne - Ultra Culture
In yet another over-designed cinematic letdown, director Tim Burton (Alice in Wonderland; Sweeney Todd) weaves a choppy comic tale of resurrected ghouls set in the early 1970s.
Jim Schembri - 3AW
Burton can still deliver a great visual hook and whimsical comedy. But he seems caught between his new laziness and his old genuine excitement about filmmaking.
Nathaniel Rogers - Film Experience
Isn't sure if it is supposed to be a campy homage, a vampire black comedy, or a family friendly horror pic...doesn't come close to the duo's wondrous collaborations.
Bruce Bennett - Spectrum (St. George, Utah)
Dark Shadows gets stuck in neutral because of the uncertainty as to what kind of a film it wants to be.
Mark Pfeiffer - Reel Times: Reflections on Cinema
Burton deploys the kind of winking, sly humor he knows his leading man can pull off.
Tricia Olszewski - Washington City Paper
Some scenes seem to exist in their own universe entirely, having no bearing on the rest of the plot. If this is supposed to be some sort of satirical comment on the original TV show, which was famously erratic, then it was a bad choice.
Eric Melin - Scene-Stealers.com
Burton's most entertaining film since Ed Wood.
Kelly Vance - East Bay Express
Barely rates as a shadow of the franchise's previous lives.
Michael Dequina - TheMovieReport.com
I'm still in a state of shock over being bored while watching a Johnny Depp flick.
Betty Jo Tucker - ReelTalk Movie Reviews
Visually elaborate, but dramatically flat
Robert Denerstein - Movie Habit
While Burton should have been comfortable with the story's large-scale passions and soap opera emotions -- as evidenced by movies like Edward Scissorhands -- he seems unwilling to take the risk.
Jeffrey M. Anderson - Common Sense Media
Johnny Depp and Tim Burton make a movie for each other and leave the audience waiting to be entertained.
Jackie K. Cooper - jackiekcooper.com
Burton and Depp have gotten into the practice of making boring and stupid movies lately. Hope that particular trend ends soon.
Bob Grimm - Reno News and Review
The movie is completely tone deaf - unsure if it's a horror movie, a comedy or a drama - and never finds anything interesting in the characters for the audience to latch on to.
By refusing to go either full-on melodrama or pure sendup, they've sentenced the original show's characters to an eternity of being upstaged by ugly lampshades.
Brian Juergens - AfterElton.com
Does not feel as derivative and artificial as most of what [Burton] has done since 2001.
Tim Brayton - Antagony & Ecstasy
Without a strong central conflict, the film ends up wobbling from set piece to set piece, as if Burton were continually yelling, "Hey, check this out!"
Margot Harrison - Seven Days
Pitching the film playfully between farce, with a knowing satiric edge, high action and high romance, Dark Shadows is a lot of fun.
Margaret Pomeranz - At the Movies (Australia)
Certainly delivers the goods on several levels without quite rising to the heights to which it aspires.
David Stratton - The Australian
It's filled with moments that don't really matter, especially when dealing with the fishing business.
Jeff Bayer - The Scorecard Review
nostalgic music and digs at the bad aesthetic choices of a previous era, no matter how well executed, will only get you so far, and at some point we have to be invested in Barnabas's many plights, and we never are.
James Kendrick - Q Network Film Desk
Is it obviously a Tim Burton picture? Sure it is. That's what I expect -- and, in fact, what I want -- from a Burton movie.
Ken Hanke - Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
The longer the movie plays, the more disjointed, episodic, and incoherent it becomes. It has no idea what it is.
CJ Johnson - ABC Radio (Australia)
A flaccid film that might as well be a straight-to-video Addams Family sequel.
Jon Hamblin - SFX Magazine
Not the worst movie Tim Burton has ever made, but it's the latest example of how creatively adrift he's become.
Ethan Alter - Television Without Pity
I knew we were in trouble when the cops drew a chalk outline around the box office.
Mark Ramsey - MovieJuice!
Not that funny, but worth seeing mostly due to Depp's performance.
Tony Medley - Tolucan Times
As with Pirates, the story often stalls while Depp does his stuff, but his fish-out-of-water vampire is roguish, mannered and a hoot, as you'd expect.. though it's Green's wild-eyed pale-skinned seductress who really sinks her teeth into the film.
Jason Best - Movie Talk
"Dark Shadows" is a lot more fun than any of the "Twilight" movies combined.
Cole Smithey - ColeSmithey.com
If Burton had ever worried that his celebrated brand of eccentricity might one day feel dated or even irrelevant, that unthinkable day may indeed have come.
Ed Gibbs - The Sun Herald
Not funny enough to be called a comedy nor remotely frightening or dramatic enough to portray the original TV show's scarier leanings. Dark Shadows has no idea what it wants to be and ends up being nothing.
Diva Velez - TheDivaReview.com
Another kooky and over-baked visually spectacular film filled with lavish costumes and spooky goth style from director Tim Burton.
Dennis Schwartz - Ozus' World Movie Reviews
The jokes seem to have been written, fittingly enough, by the dead.
Luke Buckmaster - Crikey
A mirthless monster mash that just manages to remember what it's about, a minute before the end - all concerned praying it's not too late. It is.
Ed Whitfield - The Ooh Tray
Ultimately the film is rather ordinary, a bit like a modest Roger Corman horror flick embarrassed by the size of its budget.
Philip French - Observer [UK]
There really isn't acting to speak of because there is no attempt at character development, just character design. Characters only exist as gags, and cheap gags at that.
Beth Accomando - KPBS.org
Basically a cornucopia of ineptness, Dark Shadows should have been relegated to where the sun don't shine.
Brandon Judell - CultureCatch
Looks good, as you'd expect from Burton, but the script lacks fangs.
Scott Nash - Three Movie Buffs
... it shouldn't surprise anyone that all the funny bits are in the trailers and what's left is a beautiful production design in need of a worthy plot.
Kevin A. Ranson - MovieCrypt.com
Dark Shadows just sits there flat and boring, with the energy of the actors in lock down mode thanks to laugh lines that get no laughter.
Lori Hoffman - Atlantic City Weekly
... reminds us that all the CG effects and crashing-wave inserts can't goose a moribund script to life. Depp as Barnabas should have gone the way of Love Story and the lava lamp and stay buried.
Glenn Lovell - CinemaDope
How is it possible that a man who just a few years ago stood as one of our most exciting and unconventional actors has now become one of the most predictable?
Matt Brunson - Creative Loafing
This latest collaboration between director Tim Burton and actor Johnny Depp is easily the best thing they've done together since Sweeney Todd.
Daniel M. Kimmel - New England Movies Weekly
The only resurrecting grace is Depp's now routine, freak pantomime performance ...You will scream with frustration at this ghoulish comedy, that's for sure.
Lisa Giles-Keddie - Real.com
Much like pizza and sex, even when a Tim Burton film isn't great, it's still pretty good, it's never really "bad".
Tim Martain - The Mercury
Burton's direction is top notch, but he doesn't know a thing about story structure, which is something you think he would have figured out by now.
Austin Kennedy - Sin Magazine
If you're going to take this, which wasn't a comedy, and play it for comedy...make your movie funny.
Widgett Walls - Needcoffee.com
It is not how something starts that matters, it is how it finishes, and [Dark Shadows] does not end as well as it should in the hands of Tim Burton. The film and its release to home video are both a disappointment.
Robin Clifford - Reeling Reviews
Fans of Depp's past collusions with Burton will find their rewards along the way. But there's a perfunctory vibe to the goings on, a weariness amid the weirdness.
Christopher Orr - The Atlantic
Tough luck, Dark Shadows faithful, you aren't going to think much of this movie.
Dave White - Movies.com
Although imperfect, this may be Burton's most personal project in years -- a film that seems motivated by genuine identification with the 'Dark Shadows' theme, and not by a desire to impose the Burton brand on a pre-sold title.
John Beifuss - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
Sigh, and I had such high hopes.
Grae Drake - Movies.com
Dark Shadows isn't an abomination, but it falls well short of the high expectations viewers anticipate from two of the industry's top talents.
Tyler Hanley - Palo Alto Weekly
...a disappointingly underwhelming endeavor that stands as the latest misfire from a once rock-solid filmmaker...
David Nusair - Reel Film Reviews
Feels less like a fond and knowing tribute than a work of indifferent, uninspired hackery.
Steven D. Greydanus - Decent Films Guide
"Dark Shadows has to be the most perfunctory, most self- parodic entry to the [Burton] canon thus far."
Donald Clarke - Irish Times
If you are tuned into Tim Burton's style, Dark Shadows will not disappoint.
Daniel Eagan - Film Journal International
If it wasn't for Twilight, I might be blaming Tim Burton and Johnny Depp for ruining vampires.
Willie Waffle - WaffleMovies.com
Rarely has a film more aptly proven the "more is less" theory - part comedy, part horror, part '70s spoof, part soap opera. And yet none of the genres in this mash-up are the least bit successful.
Brian Tallerico - HollywoodChicago.com
The script is an unholy mess, stumbling between comedy, action, horror and romance, without any clue how to navigate these shifts in tone.
- Liverpool Echo
Turns out a soap opera adaptation ends up being pretty darn soap opera-y.
Matt Patches - Hollywood.com
It is at any rate better value than the disappointing Alice in Wonderland.
Derek Malcolm - This is London
'Dark Shadows' is an amusing piece of high camp, stoked by Depp's deadpan star performance and the kind of elaborate trappings one would expect from Burton.
Leonard Maltin - Leonard Maltin's Picks
This is not great by (Depp and Burton's) standards, but it's a stylish piece of warped fluff by anyone else's standards.
Matt Neal - The Standard
Clearly, they made the movie they wanted to make. It's just not the movie this "Dark Shadows" fan hoped to see.
Stephen Whitty - Newark Star-Ledger
By asking the audience to take far too much on faith, Dark Shadows can only be an interesting failure.
Peter Canavese - Groucho Reviews
An adaptation of an old, antiquated TV show that feels fresh and alive in large part because of its star.
Robert Levin - Film School Rejects
Much like watching the Monday episode of a weekly soap opera with its 4-5 storylines all competing for dominance and then realizing that the mess of a screenplay is not going to give us the Tuesday-Friday wrap-ups.
Erik Childress - eFilmCritic.com
Finally. A vampire movie you can sink your teeth into. Move over Edward Cullen. Barnabas Collins really sucks. In style. With panache. And without all that awful sulking.
Gary Wolcott - Tri-City Herald
The film is lifeless, which would be a funny thing to say about a vampire movie if it weren't so true.
Mathew DeKinder - Suburban Journals of St. Louis
SHADOWS has plenty of Depp's weird allure and, yet, seems to be missing absolutely everything else.
Jonathan W. Hickman - Daily Film Fix
Unfortunately, Burton abandons a promisingly quirky first half approach & undermines a hugely enjoyable Depp performance with an effects-heavy, action-packed second half that's neither funny nor thrilling, and mostly just boring.
Ian Buckwalter - The Washingtonian
A bit of a mess, with way too many characters and full of jarring tonal shifts. It's trying to do about five different things and doesn't do any of them especially well.
Stephen Silver - EntertainmentTell
[Burton] fails on levels I wouldn't have imagined possible.
Rob Vaux - Mania.com
Perhaps if every Hollywood film featured the grand yet gloomy decadency of a Burton production, I'd be more inclined to get caught up on where his films go wrong. But they don't, so I won't.
Anders Wotzke - Moviedex
Finally, Johnny Depp's first hot sex scene. He's got real chemistry with Eva Green. Makes you wonder what happened in The Tourist.
Victoria Alexander - FilmsInReview.com
This amusing trifle has some modest rewards for those willing to accept it simply as a breezy diversion.
Todd Jorgenson - Cinemalogue.com
What might have seemed campy fun in a cheapjack TV series is crushed under the weight of a big-budget Hollywood production.
Kurt Loder - Reason Online
The sequel baiting is unwarranted and patently absurd. That's because "Dark Shadows" is best left self-contained and self-assured in its silly-serious storytelling. It's somewhere between a timeless play's tragedy and the punch of a 1970s pop song.
Nick Rogers - Suite101.com
Just don't expect a string of bellylaughs and a garish pantsing of '70's culture, and there's a great deal of murky merriment to be had, tilted askew by Burton and Depp's loving, bloodstained hands.
Brian Orndorf - BrianOrndorf.com
Cleverly written by Seth Grahame-Smith (author of the novel, "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Killer"), "Dark Shadows" is a faithful homage to the television show I remember...
Michael A. Smith - MediaMikes
There's fun to be had here, but it's buried under all the fun we're supposed to be having.
Matthew Razak - Flixist.com
Burton is supremely comfortable doing this sort of thing, but after Alice in Wonderland and this, one can't help but wish that he'd step outside his comfort zone just a little on the next project.
Martin Roberts - Fan The Fire
I kind of liked it just because it is so defiantly odd and if nothing else, I certainly enjoyed it more than most of Tim Burton's recent endeavors.
Peter Sobczynski - eFilmCritic.com
probably won't end up being the worst vampire movie released this year
Kevin Carr - 7M Pictures
It has not a clue what to do once it's set everything in motion. Too bad. It could have been a rollicking good time.
Matt Soergel - Florida Times-Union
Dark Shadows is a great big mess, utterly lacking in inspiration.
Mike McGranaghan - Aisle Seat
...a 'shadow' of its former self, still fun and fascinating but a bit of a letdown for those on the original Barnabas bandwagon.
Bill Gibron - Filmcritic.com
The dark, gothic underpinnings, cheekily accessorized with sparkly cotton candy glam-era colors, go together like a black velvet cape paired with white vinyl go-go boots.
Staci Layne Wilson - Yahoo! Movies
"Dark Shadows" may be too light for vampire purists or fans of the original show, but fresh blood is just what the doctor ordered.
Joe Williams - St. Louis Post-Dispatch
There is a gravity-defying sex scene set to entertainingly demented rock music. Otherwise it is business as usual in the increasingly depleted world of pastiche horror.
Nigel Andrews - Financial Times
Allow yourself to get hung up on the fact that there is no story or characters and you're missing the good stuff.
David Jenkins - Little White Lies
Smartly scripted by Seth Grahame-Smith, Burton makes the 70s work for the film.
James Mottram - The List
A mixed bag of Nixon-era pop burlesque and vampire kitsch is ultimately undone by pedestrian gags and bloated genre boilerplate.
Bill Weber - Slant Magazine
The script by Seth Grahame-Smith is witless and meandering - and I wouldn't mind the witless so much if it moved, or the meandering if it were droll.
David Edelstein - NPR
Johnny Depp and Tim Burton enable each other's laziest, most indulgent habits: They make movies to entertain themselves instead of the audience.
Rene Rodriguez - Miami Herald
A movie that heads in so many directions it's a wonder Depp didn't get whiplash.
Ann Lewinson - Kansas City Star
There is nothing holding this jumble of odd impulses and expensive makeup together.
Josh Larsen - LarsenOnFilm
By trying to hit so many notes, "Dark Shadows" fails to strike any of them.
Duane Dudek - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
"... There is a been-there-done-that feeling permeating all of 'Dark Shadows,' no matter how entertaining it might be at times.
Greg Maki - Star-Democrat (Easton, MD)
"Dark Shadows" doesn't add anything new to the genre, but it's a surprisingly high-spirited and genuinely black-humored comedy.
Rafer Guzman - Newsday
A movie about the undead can still be DOA.
Matt Pais - RedEye
Dark Shadows suffers from the now-predictable Tim Burton pile-on: Like a matron who's gone mad for garish jewelry, he just doesn't know when to stop.
Stephanie Zacharek - Movieline
This is not the knockabout comedy the trailer suggests. Instead, it cleaves closer to what you expect from Burton: darkness, quirk and Johnny Depp on great form.
Ian Freer - Empire Magazine
While the script is a mess and the finale underwhelms, if you still dig the Depp/Burton combo does it really matter?
Peter Paras - E! Online
The script is an odd mix of smart dialog and random plot-strands, and while Burton gets the style right he never quite finds the tone.
Rich Cline - Shadows on the Wall
With Dark Shadows, an erratic mish-mash of horror, comedy and camp period satire, Burton delivers less than even his most ardent followers might have bargained for.
Leigh Paatsch - Herald Sun (Australia)
Depp could play this role in his sleep and in a way, he does. But still, he's the life and soul of the party.
Stella Papamichael - Digital Spy
Dark Shadows can't really figure out what kind of movie it is. There's comedy and campy macabre and gothic melodrama and horror but none of it ever congeals into a story that dramatically, tonally or thematically makes sense.
Jeff Meyers - Metro Times (Detroit, MI)
When Burton is going through the motions, his films are as involving as a school play. He directs this film on autopilot. Ed Wood would have done it better.
Paul Byrnes - Sydney Morning Herald
Dark Shadows is very much 'A Tim Burton Film', as the opening credits rather superfluously point out. It's not his finest, but it's by no means his worst either and, unlike his last offering, it's mercifully devoid of undignified 'futterwackening' scenes.
A loss of empathy for the hero vampire drains the lifeblood out of this project. Flaws don't necessarily derail a film -- but nothing nails the coffin shut quite like an unlikeable Barnabas Collins.
Kimberly Gadette - Doddle
[S]hockingly, appallingly inept, and it keeps getting worse and worse, as if it were descending into its very own bespoke circle of cinematic hell... Depp [is] parodying himself, which is hugely unpleasant to watch...
MaryAnn Johanson - Flick Filosopher
Becomes increasingly flawed and frustrating in equal measure, though it's still worth watching thanks to its striking production design and enjoyable performances from Depp and Green.
Matthew Turner - ViewLondon
On paper, Dark Shadows is a home run, but they don't play the games on paper.
David Medsker - Bullz-Eye.com
In the end the delicate oddity that enlivens the earlier portion of the picture evaporates in an orgy of big-budget mayhem.
Frank Swietek - One Guy's Opinion
You keep wishing that the movie was either scarier or funnier - too often it flatlines between the two - but it's nonetheless impossible to look away.
Moira MacDonald - Seattle Times
A colorful yet empty Big Top to house yet another collection of circus oddities that are presided over by one of Depp's traditional ringleaders.
Sean O'Connell - Movies.com
Depp summons every type of behavior Burton requires: heroism, zaniness, longing, wit, ferocity, sexuality, icy resolve. Had they stuck to one or two of these, we might have had a terrific film.
Lawrence Toppman - Charlotte Observer
Dark Shadows is fun if you go with it.
Jim Slotek - Jam! Movies
While nothing here frightened me like its TV predecessor so long ago, it scares me to think that those involved read the script and thought it would be great from start to finish. It isn't. (Full Content Review for Parents also available)
Jim Judy - Screen It!
Eight movies together later and that razor sharp Depp / Burton relationship now feels less like scissorhands and more like spoonfingers.
Brian Henry Martin - UTV
One of the strangest mainstream releases of recent times, Dark Shadows' demented gothic melodrama/fish-out-of-water comedy/creature feature feels like you've slipped into a Burton fever-dream.
Matt Glasby - Total Film
Wonderfully weird visuals from Tim Burton and a highly watchable performance by his muse, Johnny Depp cannot keep the tone from faltering and the results are unsatisfying.
Nell Minow - Beliefnet
An expensive, all-star bore, albeit a bore that's been art-directed to a fare-thee-well.
There's no doubt that viewers still know that they're watching a Tim Burton movie. The question now is why.
Scott Tobias - AV Club
It's a million dollar soap opera and screenwriter Seth Grahame-Smith wrote the turd, and Tim Burton rolled it in glitter.
Cameron Williams - The Popcorn Junkie
It's clunky, to say the least ...
Mark Dujsik - Sci-Fi Movie Page
When you consider all the pitfalls avoided, and all the laughs and pleasures it provides along the way, "Dark Shadows" is a satisfying and skillful effort.
Mick LaSalle - San Francisco Chronicle
The film is not an out-and-out comedy, nor is it a supernatural spooker: It can't out-camp the original and it doesn't make us fear the creatures of the night. However, Dark Shadows is not without some delightful moments.
Marjorie Baumgarten - Austin Chronicle
There's no question that everyone had a ball on the set, but the final product doesn't merit all the effort.
Norman Wilner - NOW Toronto
Wildly entertaining for it's first hour. More successful as a comedy than gothic horror.
Chris Bumbray - JoBlo's Movie Emporium
Peter Rainer - Christian Science Monitor
Dark Shadows is a bit of a slow burn, but once it gets going, it's good.
Scott A. Mantz - Access Hollywood
These shadows aren't nearly as dark as they are dull, ensuring that not even Burton's trademark visuals are capable of hypnotizing us into believing that we're seeing something remotely interesting.
Jason Buchanan - TV Guide's Movie Guide
By the time Dark Shadows gets to the opening credits, it is already Tim Burton's best film since Ed Wood...
Peter Keough - Boston Phoenix
Dark Shadows may be overcrowded in characters and story but it's never less than entertainingly weird.
Alex Zane - Sun Online
Dark Shadows is far from the worst of Tim Burton's films, but it may be the one that finally breaks his fans' patience.
Robbie Collin - Daily Telegraph
...Tim Burton's best film since 2003's Big Fish.
Dominic Corry - Flicks.co.nz
Ironically, fans of the series seem to be the least targeted demographic...and Burton has failed to mine the comic possibilities of the 'Ed Wood' vibe that made the series' production infamous.
Laura Clifford - Reeling Reviews
Like its root '66 TV show Dark Shadows, this film is a heady mix of vampire, werewolf and witch ingredients all bubbling away in a cinematic cauldron.
Graham Young - Birmingham Post
It whelms you. Its effect is whelming. The film delivers precisely the satisfaction a sympathetic audience could expect from its director, not one degree above or below. The audience is whelmed. It's a whelmer.
Really, it's more set-up than story: the film grinds through a number of subplots that don't resonate with one another and don't add up to a narrative with any momentum or tension.
Shawn Levy - Oregonian
Depp's Barnabas is a Kabuki-faced boy vampire with a notably smooth visage for a character played by a 48-year-old man.
James Verniere - Boston Herald
It's often amusing and it looks great, but "Dark Shadows" lacks the same thing its hero lacks: a pulse.
Chris Hewitt (St. Paul) - St. Paul Pioneer Press
Shadows a bit too dim on details.
Charles Koplinski - Illinois Times
Handsome, vaguely true to the old soap opera, and inert.
Bob Mondello - NPR
Dark Shadows manages in two hours what the TV show took six years to do: become irrelevant and remembered only for how sloppy it was.
Steve Persall - Tampa Bay Times
[It has] all the raw ingredients of a cult classic. Why, then, is 'Dark Shadows' such a bore?
Jordan Hoffman - ScreenCrush
Stylishly surreal, gleefully macabre and visually daring with a trippy Depp/Green sex scene kicking in, this generation gap vampire romp runs on youthful rebellion in perpetuity. In other words, don't trust anyone over two hundred. Twilight on acid.
Prairie Miller - NewsBlaze
You don't have to know the 60's afternoon soap to fall for this funny pop confection, but you do need to appreciate its light, spoofy tone. If you do, it's a ghoulish joy.
Caryn James - James on screenS
The cheesy and cheap but beloved TV program takes an affectionate ribbing in the film, which has more in common with "That '70s Show" than its actual source.
Enduringly escapist, it's a murderously funny fantasy.
Susan Granger - SSG Syndicate
When Burton and Depp decided it would be fun to make a movie out of a campy '60s TV show, the correct response should have been: Didn't you see Wild Wild West?
Marshall Fine - Hollywood & Fine
A half-baked auto-update of the classic series, and a suggestion that Burton's persistent style has finally worn thin.
Shaun Munro - What Culture
Those queuing for the sort of giggly nonsense that the ad campaign promises - 'Captain Jack Sparrow' as a pasty bloodsucker, circa 1972 - will be bummed, but those familiar with Dan Curtis' original TV series may be perfectly satiated.
Simon Foster - Screen-Space
Impressive costumes and sets indicate Burton's consistent eye for detail, but as in many of his recent efforts, he's applied his considerable style to very little substance.
Josh Bell - Las Vegas Weekly
As imaginatively eccentric as it is blithely ghoulish. To see it is to view something that feels different right to its core. How often can that be said in today's studio system?
There's some laughs in this movie, there's some action, but halfway through this movie it just takes this weird turn, and you're like 'what happened to all the fun that I was having in this theater?'
Kristian Harloff and Mark Ellis - Schmoes Know
A faithfully-cheesy remake of a consciously-campy TV show!
Kam Williams - AALBC.com
Burton's most perverse film since Batman Returns and his most playful since Mars Attacks!
Thomas Caldwell - Cinema Autopsy
The costumes and production design are first class but Dark Shadows is only a must-see for Burton devotees.
Henry Fitzherbert - Daily Express
"Shadows" leaves us with the sense that this isn't the last time we'll be seeing Barnabas and company. One can only hope that next time they'll work out the kinks.
Randy Myers - San Jose Mercury News
Take your partners for a surprisingly bawdy and delightfully ditzy danse macabre.
- Sky Movies
Anemic in parts, this Johnny Depp/Tim Burton reboot is still, often, a bloody blast.
Joanna Langfield - The Movie Minute
It's a great time at the movies and a wickedly clever cinematic treat.
Pete Hammond - Boxoffice Magazine
The clownish vampire with a Napoleonic hairdo and blood dripping from his chin is a great vehicle for the chameleon Johnny Depp, but the sort of fun we had with the Addams Family is also missing
Andrew L. Urban - Urban Cinefile
Burton lays it on with wild theatricals and a throng of special effects to take us to the film's chaotic conclusion. It doesn't quite soar, but there is fire among the shadows
Louise Keller - Urban Cinefile
...an unfocused mess -- a top-notch piece of production and costume design in search of a story.
Todd Gilchrist - The Playlist
It's a movie of singular moments, but the images, set-pieces, and special effects don't congeal into a coherent narrative that sustains emotional or thematic engagement.
Emanuel Levy - EmanuelLevy.Com
Burton, as usual, is great on atmosphere and comic timing (these are his weirdest moments since Ed Wood), but less so at reining in an overcomplicated plot and dimly lit action scenes.
Joshua Rothkopf - Time Out
Visually stunning and delightfully bawdy, Dark Shadows is worth its return from the grave.
Adam Bub - MovieFIX
While Tim Burton disappointingly reins in the weirdness and struggles to nail the tone, this is still packed with memorable moments and terrific performances.
Erin Free - FILMINK (Australia)
Though sporting director Tim Burton's usual visual flair, the film nonetheless suffers from the same lack of narrative focus that has haunted his other recent offerings.
Tim Grierson - Screen International
There were only a handful of genuine laughs... and that puts it on a par with Scary Movie 3.
Matthew Toomey - ABC Radio Brisbane
[Burton's] co-conspirators Depp, Bonham Carter, and the shaman that renders them all ageless have returned to wreak scenery-eating havoc once again, but the resulting concoction is significantly more delectable than anything they've conjured in some time.
Simon Miraudo - Quickflix
Dark Shadows has some sporadic moments of fun but on the whole it's an inferior recycled mash-up of Burton's style and Depp's quirky characters from their eight collaborations.
Blake Howard - 2UE That Movie Show
All fangs and no bite, Dark Shadows is another bland Tim Burton rebranding of a classic product, saved from being a total disaster by the talents of his leading man Johnny Depp.
Matthew Pejkovic - Matt's Movie Reviews