Dark Shadows

Dark Shadows

Director Tim Burton brings the cult classic series "Dark Shadows" to the big screen. 2.6 out of 5 based on 16 reviews
Dark Shadows

Omniscore:

Certificate
Genre Comedy, Fantasy
Director Tim Burton
Cast Johnny Depp, Eva Green, Michelle Pfeiffer, Jonny Lee Miller, Chloë Grace Moretz
Studio Warner Bros UK
Release Date May 2012
Running Time 102 mins
 

Director Tim Burton brings the cult classic series "Dark Shadows" to the big screen.

Reviews

The New York Times

Manohla Dargis

The movie is lightly ornamented with cinematic allusions. At one point David’s shrink, Dr. Julia Hoffman, replicates the signature Shelley Winters image from The Night of the Hunter, while the caretaker, Loomis, wields an ax that looks borrowed from Jack Nicholson in The Shining. Such sampling never becomes distracting and, with the terrific period songs, gives Dark Shadows the feel of a pop-cultural archaeological dig. That makes sense given that Mr. Burton’s film resurrects an old television show that was partly inspired by the 1950s and ’60s vampire flicks produced by the British studio Hammer, which were in turn influenced by decades of fang-ster gore and glory.

10/05/2012

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The Scotsman

Alistair Harkness

So messy it almost plays like a purer tribute to Burton’s beloved Ed Wood than Ed Wood. Of course, it’s hard to believe for a second that this is an intentional artistic choice rather than an excuse for bungled high-concept filmmaking, but viewing it in this way does make it easier to appreciate what minor joys it has to offer.

10/05/2012

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The Guardian

Peter Bradshaw

The new film from Tim Burton does something that is rarer than you might think. 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. Tim Burton drives it straight down the middle of the anticipation fairway. You will be whelmed by the Goth style, whelmed by the CGI olde-worlde darkness of the Liverpool-in-1760 prologue, whelmed by Johnny Depp's vampire makeup and quasi-English accent and occasional funny line, and intensely, almost sensually whelmed by the fact that Helena Bonham Carter is in it. This really is a reasonably, moderately, whelmingly good film.

10/05/2012

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Total Film

Matt Glasby

It’s a film content to inhabit its own curious terrain: where Shakespeare gets (unfavourably) compared to the Steve Miller Band; skinny goths are somehow irresistible to flame-haired vixens; and Dracula himself (Lee) and rock’s Prince of Darkness (Cooper) stand winking in the wings like chat show showbiz chums. With a few caveats, you will be too.

09/05/2012

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The Observer

Philip French

A visual delight ... But ultimately the film is rather ordinary, a bit like a modest Roger Corman horror flick embarrassed by the size of its budget.

13/05/2012

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The Independent on Sunday

Jonathan Romney

it's Eva Green's Angelique who steals the limelight, with her fatale-o-meter turned up way above 11 ... She's the most cartoonish presence in the film, like Jessica Rabbit's satanic sister with a huge blood-red mouth, which Burton might easily have painted on and animated by hand.

13/05/2012

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The Sunday Times

Cosmo Landesman

Although the original tele­vision series is considered a camp classic, Burton wisely plays this version as a straight gothic soap opera. Dramatically, it doesn’t quite work, because the episodic nature of weekly soaps allows plot twists, revealed secrets and characters to develop in their own time; here, they are condensed into a short space of time and lose their impact. And visually the film isn’t the stunner it should be. After all, who does gothic-horror better than Burton? The trouble is, he has decided not to do a Burton, so, instead of taking us into that idiosyncratic and weird world he has made his own, we go to the familiar terrain of the classic horror film, with a crumbling mansion, crashing waves, cadaverous faces and bloodsucking vampires.

13/05/2012

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Empire Magazine

Ian Freer

The biggest problem lies with tone. The TV show was renowned for its Ed Wood-like shonky sets, strange line readings and booms in shot, yet Burton eschews this in favour of high-end production value — Collinwood Manor is production-designed to within an inch of its life and Danny Elfman’s score impressively broods— played against a stylised acting approach that hints at the show’s amateur origins.

08/05/2012

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The Evening Standard

Derek Malcolm

The tone is not unlike that of The Munsters. It intends to be funny, even witty, rather than frightening, and that means everyone plays as straight as possible within the eccentric confines of their parts. Depp is not a natural comedian but prompts smiles by being a rather peculiar version of himself. “Oh! Mephistopheles!” he says when he rises from his coffin to see a giant McDonald’s M — a joke which can be taken two ways.

11/05/2012

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The Financial Times

Nigel Andrews

You can’t move for vampires these days. Immigration control being understaffed in Hollywood and fellow fantasylands, no one has yet put up a sign saying “Sorry, we’re full, go somewhere else.” Johnny Depp dons the fangs in Dark Shadows. Sadly Tim Burton’s horror spoof, inspired by a 1960s teleseries, skips straight past “X” for spinechilling and goes on to “Zzz” for somniferous.

10/05/2012

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The Independent

Anthony Quinn

Beset with Burton's familiar faults - overproduced and underwritten, it labours through swathes of gothic mystery without seeming to know if it should scare us to death or make us bust out laughing. In the end, it barely does either.

11/05/2012

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The Los Angeles Times

Kenneth Turan

This film has much more to do with what goes on inside director Tim Burton's head than with any TV show, no matter how beloved. In fact, "Dark Shadows" is as good an example as any of what might be called the Way of Tim, a style of making films that, like the drinking of blood, is very much an acquired taste and, unless you're a vampire, not worth the effort.

11/05/2012

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The Daily Mail

Chris Tookey

Normally an energetic, charismatic actor, Depp is an inert, complacent and ultimately lifeless hole at the centre of the movie. The film around him feels even emptier because the woefully disorganised screenplay doesn’t give the talented actors nearly enough to do ... Pfeiffer is wasted, and Jonny Lee Miller looks terribly depressed, as though in mourning for his career.

11/05/2012

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The Daily Telegraph

Robbie Collin

All of the director’s tics, good and bad, are present in magnified form: his repertory company casting; his pasty-faced protagonists; his delight in overturning suburban norms and watching the kinkiness scuttle out from underneath. But this time, there is nothing behind the gothic window dressing to make the exercise interesting; it’s all flavouring, no crisp. Dark Shadows lacks a coherent story, engaging characters, ideas, charm, wit and purpose. The one thing it’s stuffed with is Burton gratia Burtonis: Burton for Burton’s sake.

10/05/2012

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Time Out

Tom Huddleston

The idea of a louche Georgian vampire running a fish cannery in 1970s New England has a certain offbeat charm, but leave it to Burton to go completely overboard in the wackiness stakes, dragging ghosts, hippies, angry mobs and even poor Alice Cooper into an already overloaded (and seriously overlong) story.

10/05/2012

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The Times

Kate Muir

Despite sporadic laughs, we have seen Depp play this part one time too many. The black eyeliner and white make-up are showing cracks. The combination of Sweeney Todd, Edward Scissorhands, Willy Wonka and the Mad Hatter has become clichéd and depressing. Depp’s vampire, Barnabus Collins, occasionally resembles an awful parody of the final days of Michael Jackson.

11/05/2012

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