Metascore
55

Mixed or average reviews - based on 42 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 42
  2. Negative: 1 out of 42
Watch On
  1. Reviewed by: Manohla Dargis
    May 10, 2012
    90
    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.
  2. Reviewed by: Owen Gleiberman
    May 9, 2012
    83
    Depp's performance is more than just funny - it's ghoulishly endearing.
  3. Reviewed by: Andrew O'Hehir
    May 10, 2012
    80
    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.
  4. Reviewed by: Pete Hammond
    May 8, 2012
    80
    It's a great time at the movies and a wickedly clever cinematic treat.
  5. Reviewed by: Mick LaSalle
    May 10, 2012
    75
    There are times, not too many, when the movie drags. But 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.
  6. Reviewed by: Steven Rea
    May 10, 2012
    75
    Pinpointing the era - lovingly - is very much what Dark Shadows' has on its mind. While there's a tangle of romance and vengeance and all sorts of family matters to deal with, Burton's film is really about hippies in bell-bottoms, stoned out in their VW micro-buses.
  7. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    May 10, 2012
    75
    Tim Burton has got his groove back.
  8. Reviewed by: Joe Williams
    May 10, 2012
    75
    May be too light for vampire purists or fans of the original show, but fresh blood is just what the doctor ordered.
  9. Reviewed by: Anthony Lane
    May 18, 2012
    70
    Along with Guillermo del Toro and Peter Jackson, Burton is one of the few magi who know what can be dredged up, even now, from the cauldron of special effects. [21 May 2012, p.80]
  10. Reviewed by: Dana Stevens
    May 10, 2012
    70
    It's Depp as Barnabas that holds the movie together. The story may be less than coherent and some of the minor characters washouts, but when he's on-screen, there's energy and humor and that foppish sex appeal that (as in the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie) reminds you why you once liked Johnny Depp.
  11. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    May 10, 2012
    70
    Attention must be paid to movie allure, in a star like Depp and his current harem. Angelique may be the only satanist among the women here, but they're all bewitching.
  12. Reviewed by: Lou Lumenick
    May 11, 2012
    63
    Maybe it's because I share Burton"s twisted affection for the 1970s, but for all its shortcomings, I'd sooner watch a sequel to Dark Shadows than another installment of the bloated "Pirates of the Caribbean" saga any day.
  13. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    May 10, 2012
    63
    At its best in comic mode, more effective as goofy spoof than horror show.
  14. Reviewed by: Peter Travers
    May 10, 2012
    63
    The pleasures of Dark Shadows are frustratingly hit-and-miss. In the end, it all collapses into a spectacularly gorgeous heap.
  15. Reviewed by: Roger Ebert
    May 9, 2012
    63
    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.
  16. Reviewed by: Matt Glasby
    May 10, 2012
    60
    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.
  17. Reviewed by: J.R. Jones
    May 10, 2012
    60
    The movie is fairly entertaining, but the high production values and shticky humor invert the dynamic of the show, which was played totally straight despite the fact that the sets were always threatening to fall down.
  18. Reviewed by: Joe Neumaier
    May 10, 2012
    60
    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.
  19. Reviewed by: Peter Bradshaw
    May 10, 2012
    60
    This really is a reasonably, moderately, whelmingly good film.
  20. Reviewed by: Ian Freer
    May 10, 2012
    60
    A word of warning: 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. A step up, then, from Alice In Wonderland and Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, but not tip-top Tim.
  21. Reviewed by: Joshua Rothkopf
    May 8, 2012
    60
    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.
  22. Reviewed by: Peter Rainer
    May 11, 2012
    58
    The film is best when it focuses on Barnabas's culture shocks in this brave new world. Depp has fun with the character's bafflements without camping it up. What's missing overall is the sense of fun Burton once evinced in films like "Beetlejuice."
  23. Reviewed by: Scott Tobias
    May 9, 2012
    58
    Any proper adaptation of Dark Shadows, even one that acknowledges and celebrates its camp silliness as much as Burton's does, has to immerse itself in soap opera, too, and it's here that the director's lack of conviction becomes apparent.
  24. Reviewed by: Stephanie Zacharek
    May 10, 2012
    55
    Parts of Dark Shadows look lovely. So what happened to the story?
  25. 50
    Dark Shadows only meaningful relationship is between Depp and his audience. He's a persona now, no longer an actor. And the kick here, as always, is watching him try on funny accents and hairdos.
  26. Reviewed by: Kenneth Turan
    May 10, 2012
    50
    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.
  27. Reviewed by: Shawn Levy
    May 10, 2012
    50
    'Bloodless' is the word for the whole enterprise.
  28. Reviewed by: Lawrence Toppman
    May 10, 2012
    50
    So 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.
  29. Reviewed by: Michael Phillips
    May 10, 2012
    50
    Dark Shadows illustrates the fine line in a pop reboot between "relaxed" and "lazy."
  30. Reviewed by: Rene Rodriguez
    May 10, 2012
    50
    Depp and Burton are two gifted, like-minded artists whose affinity for oddball characters and humor makes them natural creative partners. But they also enable each other's laziest, most indulgent habits: Too often, they seem to be making movies to entertain themselves instead of the audience.
  31. Reviewed by: Bill Weber
    May 10, 2012
    50
    A mixed bag of Nixon-era pop burlesque and vampire kitsch is ultimately undone by pedestrian gags and bloated genre boilerplate.
  32. Reviewed by: Marjorie Baumgarten
    May 9, 2012
    50
    Dark Shadows seems more like a mash-up of leftover ideas from "Beetlejuice," "Edward Scissorhands," "Sleepy Hollow," and "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street" – but they're ideas without the souls of characters.
  33. Reviewed by: James Berardinelli
    May 9, 2012
    50
    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.
  34. Reviewed by: Steve Persall
    May 9, 2012
    50
    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.
  35. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    May 8, 2012
    50
    Dark Shadows sinks its teeth half-way into its potentially meaty material but hesitates to go all the way.
  36. Reviewed by: Justin Chang
    May 8, 2012
    50
    This bizarre but weirdly bloodless retro-camp exercise is neither funny nor eerie enough to seduce the uninitiated, and will court bemused reactions at best from the series' still-estimable fan following.
  37. 40
    The screenplay by Seth Grahame-Smith is witless and meandering, though the witlessness wouldn't matter so much if it moved, or the meandering if it were droll.
  38. Reviewed by: Bob Mondello
    May 11, 2012
    40
    It's stately with a smirk, crossing Bram Stoker with "The Addams Family" to arrive at what sometimes feels like a wildly overproduced "Saturday Night Live" sketch.
  39. Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    May 10, 2012
    40
    Amusing, in fits and spurts, and sure to make tons of money, but terribly familiar and fatigued.
  40. Reviewed by: Bill Goodykoontz
    May 9, 2012
    40
    It seems hollow, somehow false, even by its own campy standards.
  41. Reviewed by: Nick Pinkerton
    May 8, 2012
    40
    "Wood" is still by far Depp and Burton's best collaboration, exhibiting the balance of tone between kitsch parody and zealous fantasy that's missing in Dark Shadows, less a resurrection than a clumsy desecration.
  42. Reviewed by: Ann Hornaday
    May 10, 2012
    38
    Dark Shadows doesn't know where it wants to dwell: in the eerie, subversive penumbra suggested by its title or in playful, go-for-broke camp.
User Score
5.7

Mixed or average reviews- based on 370 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 53 out of 109
  2. Negative: 27 out of 109
  1. May 11, 2012
    5
    It was okay. It started off good, but then there was too many plot lines and back stories, and it kind of fell apart. It was very rushed,It was okay. It started off good, but then there was too many plot lines and back stories, and it kind of fell apart. It was very rushed, and the characters seemed very superficial. It was like they were trying to cram years of a TV show into one 2 hour movie. I've never seen the TV show, so I don't know if the movie was merely the same premise, or if the whole plot was straight from the TV show, but it sure seemed like I was watching a soap opera. It was extremely melodramatic and soap opera-y. Yes, it was a former soap opera, but I hopeful that the movie would just be using the same premise to create something better and deeper than that. That didn't really happen.

    It seemed like the movie was written 8 hours long, and they just cut most of it out and awkwardly patched the rest together. At the beginning, we got so much of Victoria that it seemed like the movie was being told from her point of view, but then she disappears for much of the rest of the movie. It was weird, and I wasn't really feeling the relationship between her and Barnabas. That being said, it was humorous and fairly entertaining...as much as a soap opera can be.
    Full Review »
  2. May 12, 2012
    8
    I never saw the tv show so have nothing to compare it to except Depp and Burton's previous movies. I thought this was witty and well acted.I never saw the tv show so have nothing to compare it to except Depp and Burton's previous movies. I thought this was witty and well acted. Depp is excellent as a camp, over-the-top Barnabus Collins. Maybe it's not what fans of the series were expecting (or wanting), but I had fun! Full Review »
  3. May 15, 2012
    2
    This may be the best example of a trailer that crammed the movie's ONLY decent 2 minutes into a promising preview. The other 111 minutes areThis may be the best example of a trailer that crammed the movie's ONLY decent 2 minutes into a promising preview. The other 111 minutes are deadly dull. In this vague nod to the TV series, Johnny Depp stars as Barnabas Collins, who returns to his home in the 70s after being buried for 200 years. The potential for fish-out-of-water humor is wrung out in a handful of gags (all in the trailer) and the rest of the proceedings are incredibly tedious and listless. The only thing worth watching is the art direction. Otherwise, this is undoubtedly Tim Burton's worst film ever. Full Review »