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Dark Shadows Reviews

David Thomson
The New Republic
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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.

Full Review Source: The New Republic

June 17, 2013
Anthony Lane
New Yorker
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This is not so much a coherent movie as it is a long, expensive joke in search of a purpose.

Full Review Source: New Yorker

May 15, 2012
Lisa Kennedy
Denver Post
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Mostly Dark Shadows is silly when we're trained to expect slightly richer fun from Burton and Depp.

Full Review Source: Denver Post | Original Score: 2.5/4

May 11, 2012
Christopher Orr
The Atlantic
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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.

Full Review Source: The Atlantic

May 11, 2012
Stephen Whitty
Newark Star-Ledger
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Clearly, they made the movie they wanted to make. It's just not the movie this "Dark Shadows" fan hoped to see.

Full Review Source: Newark Star-Ledger | Original Score: 2/4

May 11, 2012
Stephen Cole
Globe and Mail
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Dark Shadows' only meaningful relationship is between Depp and his audience. He's a persona now, no longer an actor.

Full Review Source: Globe and Mail | Original Score: 2/4

May 11, 2012
Tom Long
Detroit News
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How bad is "Dark Shadows"? It makes you long for a "Twilight" movie. That's bad.

Full Review Source: Detroit News | Original Score: D+

May 11, 2012
Lou Lumenick
New York Post
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"Dark Shadows'' certainly has its moments, especially when Barnabas and Angelique hilariously wreck her office during a surreal, CGI-fueled, PG-rated tryst.

Full Review Source: New York Post | Original Score: 2.5/4

May 11, 2012
Ann Hornaday
Washington Post
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At once a brash, strutting pop culture pastiche and gloomy exercise in self-cannibalizing nostalgia, "Dark Shadows" is depressing on myriad levels.

Full Review Source: Washington Post | Original Score: 1.5/4

May 11, 2012
Eric D. Snider
Film.com
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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.

Full Review Source: Film.com | Original Score: D

May 11, 2012
Mick LaSalle
San Francisco Chronicle
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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.

Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle | Original Score: 3/4

May 10, 2012
Claudia Puig
USA Today
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Burton's offbeat montages are amusing, but the story's slow start and overblown conclusion make Dark Shadows half a good movie.

Full Review Source: USA Today | Original Score: 2.5/4

May 10, 2012
Peter Rainer
Christian Science Monitor
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Burton's offbeat montages are amusing, but the story's slow start and overblown conclusion make Dark Shadows half a good movie.

Full Review Source: Christian Science Monitor | Original Score: 2.5/4

May 10, 2012
Kenneth Turan
Los Angeles Times
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An uncertain combination of elements that unsuccessfully tries to be half-scary, half-funny and all strange...

Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times | Original Score: 2.5/5

May 10, 2012
Joe Morgenstern
Wall Street Journal
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"Dark Shadows" is amusing, in fits and spurts, and sure to make tons of money, but terribly familiar and fatigued.

Full Review Source: Wall Street Journal

May 10, 2012
Dana Stevens
Slate
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[Burton] and Depp, both avowed childhood fans of the original series, seem to be in their element and having a grand old time.

Full Review Source: Slate

May 10, 2012
Bob Mondello
NPR
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Handsome, vaguely true to the old soap opera, and inert.

Full Review Source: NPR

May 10, 2012
Colin Covert
Minneapolis Star Tribune
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"Dark Shadows" opens promisingly, downshifts after 30 minutes, and sputters into a meandering, momentum-free mess.

Full Review Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune | Original Score: 2/4

May 10, 2012
David Edelstein
NPR
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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.

Full Review Source: NPR

May 10, 2012
Joy Tipping
Dallas Morning News
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The film's biggest disappointment is the utter lack of chemistry between Depp and either Green or Heathcote.

Full Review Source: Dallas Morning News | Original Score: C-

May 10, 2012
Joe Neumaier
New York Daily News
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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.

Full Review Source: New York Daily News | Original Score: 3/5

May 10, 2012
Rafer Guzman
Newsday
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"Dark Shadows" doesn't add anything new to the genre, but it's a surprisingly high-spirited and genuinely black-humored comedy.

Full Review Source: Newsday | Original Score: 3/4

May 10, 2012
Steven Rea
Philadelphia Inquirer
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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.

Full Review Source: Philadelphia Inquirer | Original Score: 3/4

May 10, 2012
Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
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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.

Full Review Source: Rolling Stone | Original Score: 2.5/4

May 10, 2012
Alonso Duralde
TheWrap
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An expensive, all-star bore, albeit a bore that's been art-directed to a fare-thee-well.

Full Review Source: TheWrap

May 10, 2012
J. R. Jones
Chicago Reader
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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.

Full Review Source: Chicago Reader

May 10, 2012
Ty Burr
Boston Globe
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Tim Burton has got his groove back.

Full Review Source: Boston Globe | Original Score: 3/4

May 10, 2012
Peter Howell
Toronto Star
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Stumbles blindly along with Barnabas for most of its overlong 113 minutes, leaving viewers in the dark as to its intentions.

Full Review Source: Toronto Star | Original Score: 1/4

May 10, 2012
Richard Corliss
TIME Magazine
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Attention must be paid to movie allure, in a star like Depp and his current harem.

Full Review Source: TIME Magazine

May 10, 2012
Joe Williams
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
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"Dark Shadows" may be too light for vampire purists or fans of the original show, but fresh blood is just what the doctor ordered.

Full Review Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch | Original Score: 3/4

May 10, 2012
Rene Rodriguez
Miami Herald
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Johnny Depp and Tim Burton enable each other's laziest, most indulgent habits: They make movies to entertain themselves instead of the audience.

Full Review Source: Miami Herald | Original Score: 2/4

May 10, 2012
Manohla Dargis
New York Times
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"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.

Full Review Source: New York Times | Original Score: 4/5

May 10, 2012
Moira MacDonald
Seattle Times
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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.

Full Review Source: Seattle Times | Original Score: 2.5/4

May 10, 2012
Andrew O'Hehir
Salon.com
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"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.

Full Review Source: Salon.com

May 10, 2012
Michael Phillips
Chicago Tribune
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"Dark Shadows" illustrates the fine line in a pop reboot between "relaxed" and "lazy."

Full Review Source: Chicago Tribune | Original Score: 2/4

May 10, 2012
Scott Tobias
AV Club
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There's no doubt that viewers still know that they're watching a Tim Burton movie. The question now is why.

Full Review Source: AV Club | Original Score: C+

May 10, 2012
Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
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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.

Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times | Original Score: 2.5/4

May 10, 2012
Randy Myers
San Jose Mercury News
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"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.

Full Review Source: San Jose Mercury News | Original Score: 2/4

May 9, 2012
Owen Gleiberman
Entertainment Weekly
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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.

Full Review Source: Entertainment Weekly | Original Score: B+

May 9, 2012
Richard Roeper
Richard Roeper.com
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Bipolar film that's equal parts comedy and horror show, with neither element particularly effective.

Full Review Source: Richard Roeper.com | Original Score: 2/5

May 9, 2012
James Berardinelli
ReelViews
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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.

Full Review Source: ReelViews | Original Score: 2/4

May 9, 2012
Bill Goodykoontz
Arizona Republic
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All dressed up and no place to go.

Full Review Source: Arizona Republic | Original Score: 2/5

May 9, 2012
Glenn Kenny
MSN Movies
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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.

Full Review Source: MSN Movies | Original Score: 4/5

May 9, 2012
Todd McCarthy
Hollywood Reporter
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Dark Shadows sinks its teeth half-way into its potentially meaty material but hesitates to go all the way.

Full Review Source: Hollywood Reporter

May 8, 2012
Nick Pinkerton
Village Voice
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Less a resurrection than a clumsy desecration.

Full Review Source: Village Voice

May 8, 2012
Joshua Rothkopf
Time Out New York
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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.

Full Review Source: Time Out New York | Original Score: 3/5

May 8, 2012
Christy Lemire
Associated Press
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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.

Full Review Source: Associated Press

May 8, 2012
Justin Chang
Variety
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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.

Full Review Source: Variety

May 8, 2012
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