‘Dark Shadows’ Is a Dreadful Disappointment

The Johnny Depp and Tim Burton collaboration leaves critics unimpressed.


Those who remember the gothic soap opera “Dark Shadows" no doubt welcomed news that a movie version was coming that stars Johnny Depp. Unfortunately for fans of the television series, the transition to the big screen has been judged and found wanting.

In "Dark Shadows," vampire Barnabas Collins, played by Depp, awakens from a centuries-long sleep in 1972 to find his estate and empire in near ruins. Collins predictably sets out to restore the family fortune and finds himself at odds with the witch who transformed him into a vampire in the mid-1700s.

Scott Weinberg of FearNet.com described the movie as a “true stinker, in Hollywood terms.”

“ ‘Dark Shadows’ suffers from a miserable pace, a confused editorial approach, and a tone that wavers between ostensibly playful and smugly vulgar,” Weinberg wrote.

Marshall Fine of HollywoodandFine.com wrote the movie is “as dreary a big-budget extravaganza as you’re likely to see this year (unless Michael Bay springs a movie on us unexpectedly).”

Fine criticized the plot, the writing, the jokes, the characters and more.

“ ‘Dark Shadows’ isn’t the worst movie ever made,” he wrote. “It probably won’t even be the worst movie of the year. And that’s the best I can say about it. Watching it is like being told a weak joke that you already know.”

Here’s what other critics had to say about the film:

"The trailer, suggesting that DARK SHADOWS was being played as a spoof, caused consternation among many who viewed it, but the real issue is that as it goes on, the movie can’t seem to decide if it wants to stay true to the Gothic sensibility or send it up." – Michael Gingold, Fangoria
"The movie plays as if Hollywood executives said, hey, a 'Dark Shadows' movie would be a fun project — and never looked in on it again. Nowhere is the lack of discipline and structure more apparent than in the ending, which is a mess – and, unlike most of the rest of the film, not even an interesting one. From anyone, this version of 'Dark Shadows' would be a disappointment; from Burton, it’s an even bigger one." - Bill Goodykoontz, FloridaToday.com
"… the humor slithers between the clever and the sophomoric and the film too often seems willing to settle for mild humor at the expense of hippie-era mores instead of pursuing the palpable temptation to become genuinely twisted." – Todd McCarthy, The Hollywood Reporter

“Dark Shadows” is rated PG-13 for comic horror violence, sexual content, some drug use, language and smoking.

Showtimes: Great Escape 14

Ready to see "Dark Shadows"? Head to Georgia Theater Company's Beechwood Stadium Theatre or Carmike Cinemas.

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patricia trasatti May 12, 2012 at 10:40 AM
if johnny depp is it . it is a good movie. he is a dream come true star no matter what he does.
Jana Zain May 12, 2012 at 12:48 PM
any time there is a collaboration between johnny depp and tim burton youre going to have an odd movie and i love all of them. what were the critics expecting exactly? i had a great time watching it!! was fun.
Becky May 12, 2012 at 09:09 PM
The New York Times reviewer liked it very well. "“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." I think perhaps Burton is a a love it or hate it kind of director (though I didn't much like Sweeny or his Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) Personally I look forward to Edward Scissorhands cleverness, acerbic wit and absurdity. We'll see!


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