Warner Bros. Pictures | Release Date: May 11, 2012
5.8
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Mixed or average reviews based on 429 Ratings
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179
Negative:
78
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3
SpangleDec 23, 2016
A schlocky and unrelentingly dumb film in which witch Eva Green literally rips her beating heart out to give to vampire Johnny Depp, Dark Shadows is a major misfire by Tim Burton. Presented as a horror-comedy, Dark Shadows is neither scaryA schlocky and unrelentingly dumb film in which witch Eva Green literally rips her beating heart out to give to vampire Johnny Depp, Dark Shadows is a major misfire by Tim Burton. Presented as a horror-comedy, Dark Shadows is neither scary nor funny, rather it is merely an absurd take on both. Though featuring good special effects, Dark Shadows fails in nearly every other category as it is unfunny, unscary, ludicrous, and poorly acted. Admittedly quite campy, Dark Shadows is hardly any fun either, opting instead to follow a silly love revenge plot instead of exploring its characters or the fact that we are watching vampires and witches at all.

Dark Shadows is equivalent to being bitten by a vampire and having the blood slowly drained from you. From a compelling beginning and menacing entrance by Barnabas Collins (Johnny Depp), the film devolves into becoming a weird romance film between Barnabas and Angelique Bouchard (Eva Green). Angelique, who has cursed the Collins family because Barnabas would not love her, is seductively portrayed by Green. Burton plays up her sex appeal with her ripping open her shirt, throwing herself at Barnabas, and sporting a low-cut red dress to entice Barnabas. Though these fail, it does highlight her manipulative and lustful ways as a character and makes her a compelling foe. Barnabas, meanwhile, is a fish out of water and the film hardly tries to break these cliches. After sleeping for two centuries, he struggles to acclimate to 1970s Maine, which is hardly funny because this storyline has been played out far too much for it to seem funny. The relationship between Barnabas and Angelique is also far too much with an off-the-wall (literally) sex scene, while also lacking any chemistry whatsoever. Depp's rigid and lifeless performance hardly saves anything either with his out-of-touch character's out-of-touchness scoring zero laughs.

In the supporting roles, Michelle Pfeiffer, Helena Bonham Carter, and Chloe Grace Moretz, all ham it up to varying effectiveness. Pfeiffer is fine, Carter is decent, and Moretz is horrible. Losing all of her luster after a tremendous performance in (500) Days of Summer, Moretz plays the role of the young Carolyn Stoddard very poorly. Her performance would be more up to far in a terrible teen werewolf romance television show, as opposed to a feature film. If this were Twilight, Moretz may be a small reprieve acting-wise, but here, she is lost. Instead, she just plays the snobbish and **** teenage daughter unconvincingly.

The writing does not save anything either, nor do the editing or direction. With zero flow between the scenes, Dark Shadows' characters are ineffectual and its plot far too simplistic to hold your attention for more than two seconds. If you watch this in spurts between checking your phone, you would be shocked to find out you missed nothing. Rather than exploring its mythology at all or even its characters, Dark Shadows plays on the soap opera roots of its source material by focusing on the romance. This can be fine and acceptable if the romance had any spark. Instead, one is revenge-filled and the other is "destiny" because of a girl who looks similar to one Barnabas did love. Both lack a proper build-up or chemistry and are incredibly shorthanded. They lack intrigue or emotion whatsoever with the characters languishing behind layers of make-up that make them appear entirely lifeless. The end result is a romance that seems unbelievable and forced.

The only saving grace of the film is the production and costume design. Burton may be losing his touch in the director's chair, but he still has not lost his gothic roots. With excellent design features in the home of the Collins family, Burton creates a lavish and exquisitely setting for his characters. The costumes match this perfectly with the characters oddly never clashing between the gothic nature of the home and the modern world surrounding it and reflected in their clothing. In this way, Dark Shadows effectively creates a mysterious and ominous atmosphere that feels both 18th Century gothic and modern at the same time, which is a clear achievement of the film that is never loses itself in this clash of visual styles. This is highlighted especially in Carolyn's room. Carpeted and covered in posters of bands, the room is undeniably a teenage girl's room. Yet, the carpet runs into the stone floor right outside, which creates an interesting visual dichotomy that oddly does work. It is odd to look at, but the film allows both the modern and past elements to blend perfectly.

A mess plot-wise and character-wise and acting-wise, Dark Shadows is a misfire from Tim Burton and crew. It is not scary nor is it funny, which is disappointing given the campy approach taken by the actors and Burton. Yet, the film fails to deliver the goods throughout. That said, excellent costume and production design give the film a striking visual appearance. Burton also knows visuals very well
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3
ThreeboxIndoorsDec 20, 2016
Dark Shadows defied my expectations, but that isn't saying much. Angelique Bouchard is played too over-the-top and is just plain unwatchable at times. Bella Heathcote's acting here is robotic. She plays Victoria, who is the main character atDark Shadows defied my expectations, but that isn't saying much. Angelique Bouchard is played too over-the-top and is just plain unwatchable at times. Bella Heathcote's acting here is robotic. She plays Victoria, who is the main character at the start until the movie just ignores her to focus on Barnabas, the vampire played by Johnny Depp. He can be funny, but he can also get annoying. He is the protagonist. Near the end Barnabas and Victoria have a conversation and so abruptly they start to love each other and it feels forced. We don't care about Vicky because the movie ignores her almost completely, which is what makes the scene so abrupt. Their relationship doesn't evolve throughout the movie, they just immediately fall in love and you don't buy it. This movie also has its fair share of sex jokes, none of which i laughed at. The tone is very inconsistent and unbalanced. It's hard to tell whether you're watching a comedy, a drama or a horror movie. Overall, Dark Shadows has great visuals but has sub-par acting, annoying characters, a ridiculous script, and sluggish pacing. It isn't terrible, but it's far from average. I give this movie a 3/10. Expand
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3
Jack97Jan 1, 2014
Johnny Depp is acceptable in his role and is the only saving grace for Dark Shadows as the rest of the film is generally uninteresting, boring and unsatisfying. A miss for Depp and Burton.
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3
C_NguyenDec 19, 2013
This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. I missed the premiere of ‘Dark Shadow’ in 2012, and was really excited to finally have a chance to watch it yesterday. However, my excitement was cruelly killed by Barnabas Collins just as he did to Dr. Hoffman.

When it comes to characters with inhuman nature, viewers would probably expect to see how they show off their abilities, or in the case of ‘Dark Shadows’, how they struggle to conceal it in order to fit in the life of an ordinary human; it is safe to say that this movie totally ignores such details. Barnabas possesses a variety of vampirical features such as super strength, blood thirst, fear of sunlight, and immortality, but each of which is only exposed once or twice during the movie in a good few moments of humour; the most noticeable exposure of his nature when he kills Julia is, unfortunately, just an insignificant drive in the whole movie. Probably after leaving the cinema, most viewers would just remember Barnabas as a male version of sleeping beauty that’s all. The same thing happens to Carolyn and David, as their amazing abilities are only revealed at the end of the movie yet in a very unnatural and shallow way.

Assume that the producers didn’t want to make ‘Dark Shadows’ a blockbuster full of stunning visual effects; then why don’t they give the story more depth as that of emotional and psychological genre? The film could have left the audience a much stronger impression if it had exploited the miserable private lives of its characters: Elizabeth’s warm heart behind her cold and strict mask, Carolyn’s crave for understanding during the lonely fight to hide her being a werewolf, David’s isolation and desperate attempt to win his father’s attention.

In addition to the film missing many potential materials to win the audience’s affection, there have been detected a lot of unreasonable details in the development of the storyline. The character Elizabeth, for example, seems to be created as a caring and warm-hearted mother despite her cold and strict mask; however, she does know about her daughter’s being a werewolf at all; she should have noticed some signs of it, or at least, should have some memory of the girl being bitten by a werewolf (in the guise of a dog maybe). Moreover, she takes on the intention of killing Barnabas when he reveals his identity very fast and easily would a kind mother do such things? Another unnatural point of the story is David’s relationship with Julia and Victoria. Maybe it does not hold any major importance to the development of the storyline, but would it be more natural if we see some scenes of Julia treating David, or Victoria teaching the boy? Angelique’s death is also an odd detail she seems to be immortal, and survives after being shot by Elizabeth and beaten up by Barnabas, yet she dies just because of being blown into the chandelier? It would be more acceptable if she dies of a serious injury after an epic fight against the vampire, the werewolf and the ghost all together.

There are numerous other drawbacks of the film ‘Dark Shadows’ regarding sense of humour and spookiness., which are already discussed by many critics; therefore, in my writing, I’d like to discuss only the most obvious weakness the storyline. It is just my personal opinion about the movie; if you hold a different perspective, please take my writing just as another point of view, and let us agree to disagree.
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3
AliBenzekriJun 17, 2013
I was expecting more to be honest Tim Burton disappointed me this time and Johnny was okay for a role that was made for him .
Michelle Pfeiffer was a disappointment too i was thinking that she'll make a great comeback but obviously the
I was expecting more to be honest Tim Burton disappointed me this time and Johnny was okay for a role that was made for him .
Michelle Pfeiffer was a disappointment too i was thinking that she'll make a great comeback but obviously the role was passable
The best in show was obviously Eva Green what a great turn
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1
MarkMusicMar 27, 2013
Oh Johnny, The Tourist was better then this. Tim, Alice and Wonderland was a masterpiece. What the F%#K was this. Unfunny the only funny moments were probably in the trailer or the first 8 minutes. Please this won an award for best comedy.Oh Johnny, The Tourist was better then this. Tim, Alice and Wonderland was a masterpiece. What the F%#K was this. Unfunny the only funny moments were probably in the trailer or the first 8 minutes. Please this won an award for best comedy. The audience and I laughed more at "Madeas Whitness Protection". God, that should've won instead this, eh still a better plot then Avatar. I actually enjoyed Twilight more. Expand
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2
BrianMcCriticMar 17, 2013
Another movie that Tim Burton chose to go with his style over the substance of a good movie. I understand that these talented actors had to act a certain way for this movie, but the acting made this movie even more boring.
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2
jos95Dec 11, 2012
It has many things in common with Tim Burton's earliest films (the supernatural protagonist staying with the dysfunctional family is one of them) but it felt more like an over-budgeted rehash of his early formula. Apart from the suitablyIt has many things in common with Tim Burton's earliest films (the supernatural protagonist staying with the dysfunctional family is one of them) but it felt more like an over-budgeted rehash of his early formula. Apart from the suitably gothic beginning and climax, the rest of the movie was as dull as dishwater. All the laughs the film has to offer are all in the trailer, and they fall flat over the course of almost two hours. Johnny Depp overacted, even by his standards and his character shifted too often from Barnabas the loveable vampire to Barnabas the murderer causing abrupt tonal shifts. The rest of the cast also overacted, and their characters were completely unlikable and never developed. Shame, since some of them are great in other movies. Dark Shadows is a wasted opportunity that squanders a great cast and crew, and is a surefire candidate for the worst movie of the year. Expand
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1
Marty50sNov 10, 2012
It is neither a horror flick nor a campy comedy. Besides a couple of fun special effects and some jokes about the 70s, the pace is slow, there is no character development, the plot is ludicrous and goes nowhere, and there are no thrills.It is neither a horror flick nor a campy comedy. Besides a couple of fun special effects and some jokes about the 70s, the pace is slow, there is no character development, the plot is ludicrous and goes nowhere, and there are no thrills. The old TV soap opera at least was fun and the 90s TV series had bite. In this remake, even Alice Cooper's performance is lackluster. I wasted 2 hours plus the $1.30 I paid to Redbox. Expand
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3
Subject98Nov 2, 2012
It's very cheesy, with almost zero likable characters (like most hollywood films lately). During the first half maybe, I thought I could get into it as it started to take on a comedic style and worked pretty well. The second half however wasIt's very cheesy, with almost zero likable characters (like most hollywood films lately). During the first half maybe, I thought I could get into it as it started to take on a comedic style and worked pretty well. The second half however was a downhill tumble into some of the most retarded crap I've ever seen. Expand
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3
mailordermonstrOct 2, 2012
What happened to TIm Burton? He used to be such a great film maker. My guess is that he had a spurt of creativity in his teen years and was happy to muck around in the same stomping grounds for the rest of his life. Hollywood and the generalWhat happened to TIm Burton? He used to be such a great film maker. My guess is that he had a spurt of creativity in his teen years and was happy to muck around in the same stomping grounds for the rest of his life. Hollywood and the general public felt differently though. After rehashing Beetlejuice and Nightmare before Christmas to make Corpse's Bride, someone probably told Mr. Burton that people were getting tired of the same thing in slightly different packaging. It's at this point that Mr. Burton fell into the same trap that currently plagues Hollywood. The remake. Planet of the Apes was drab and had none of the Tim Burton Magic. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was just dreadful. And now we have Dark Shadows. Tim Burton doesn't seem to be able to point this piece in any direction. There's just far too much ground covered in too short a time. I had no feelings throughout the entire movie for Victoria, who's supposed to be the main love interest. They could've pulled a Sixth Sense, she's been dead the whole time, and no one would've blinked or cared. And why must all Tim Burton movies star Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter? They're both good actors, but please get some other people in there. Did they sign some sort of life long contract? If they had removed the whole vampire being confused by modern day shtick, they may have been able to tell a decent story. Or go the other direction and go for pure comedy. This movie is muddled and confused. If you're aching for some Burton/Depp magic, go watch Edward Scissorhands for the hundredth time. Expand
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3
ZaharaJul 3, 2012
I can't find the Old Burton in this movie. Maybe he is changing his style, I don't know, but I don't like it. I have to admit the mixed all styles: vampire, retro, gothic it's well done...but no more. I am really tired to see Depp doing theI can't find the Old Burton in this movie. Maybe he is changing his style, I don't know, but I don't like it. I have to admit the mixed all styles: vampire, retro, gothic it's well done...but no more. I am really tired to see Depp doing the same "Jack faces" over and over again. If Burton are producing and directing "kids stuff" is time he public that new, 'cos this movie.... isn't Burtons style. Expand
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3
mmweissJun 23, 2012
Tim Burton's Dark Shadows is just another partnership between Burton, Johnie Depp and Helena Bonham Carter. Nothing else. The big problem is Seth Grahame-Smith's screenplay. With its weak humor, the film doesn't know which character toTim Burton's Dark Shadows is just another partnership between Burton, Johnie Depp and Helena Bonham Carter. Nothing else. The big problem is Seth Grahame-Smith's screenplay. With its weak humor, the film doesn't know which character to follow. Another problem are the subplots, that are poorly resolved. Johnie Depp is okay as a vampire, Jackie Earle Haley and Helena Bonham Carter are good, but Eva Green delivers an over the top performance as an evil witch. At the end, Dark Shadows is a boring, poorly written film. Expand
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3
Luke494Jun 12, 2012
For lovers of Johnny Depp and Tim Burton movies, I'd suggest you stay far away from this movie. It's childish humor and terrible story line will leave you feeling so very disappointed. I suggest going back and watching some good old Sweeney Todd.
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3
lightwriterJun 3, 2012
Not what I was hoping for, at all.
The first half of the movie is very slow paced (maybe a litte too slow) and makes you think the second half will have some more action and stuff going on. This didn't seem to be the case and I seriously
Not what I was hoping for, at all.
The first half of the movie is very slow paced (maybe a litte too slow) and makes you think the second half will have some more action and stuff going on. This didn't seem to be the case and I seriously caught myself with my eyes closed at a moment.. NOT good. There was finally something happening in the last ten minutes, but to me it just came off as bad script writing as it didn't make any sense.
I expected way more from Tim Burton.
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3
muzzikloverMay 28, 2012
The worst film Tim Burton has ever directed. I sat through a gruelling 2 hours of nothing but crap. The story is an absolute mess with so many plot points scattered everywhere and some scenes are very poorly paced and are just use for paddingThe worst film Tim Burton has ever directed. I sat through a gruelling 2 hours of nothing but crap. The story is an absolute mess with so many plot points scattered everywhere and some scenes are very poorly paced and are just use for padding to make the film more painfully longer. The characters, with the exception of Johnny Depp, are boring and uninteresting and most of them are utterly useless and pointless to the plot. The only redeeming quality of this film is the production design and Johnny Depp's campy performance as the vampire. Tim Burton cannot juggle this many characters and failed to develop any of them and in addition to all these characters, the story completely stumbles with scenes trying to make the characters interact but results in most of them being entirely pointless to the overall story. The film can't decide whether it is a comedy or a Gothic horror and it fails in delivering both. I thought the trailer was better than the film itself. That's just sad. Expand
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3
SoGayGamesMay 23, 2012
It's an open secret among civilians outside of Hollywood that Johnny Depp is a wildly overrated actor, and Dark Shadows stands among the most prime examples. Who told him he was funny? He is clearly his own biggest fan, as there are scenes inIt's an open secret among civilians outside of Hollywood that Johnny Depp is a wildly overrated actor, and Dark Shadows stands among the most prime examples. Who told him he was funny? He is clearly his own biggest fan, as there are scenes in Dark Shadows in which he stinks of overconfidence. To be fair, we didn't actually sit through the entire film, but after 40 plus minutes our only hope was to still convince the theatre to give us a refund. Expand
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3
kabloom100May 22, 2012
This seemed cobbled together from the worst cliches of plot, characterization, and art direction. Nothing original from the first frame to the last. And the ending suggesting a sequel to come is the scariest thing in the movie.
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1
Rashaan87May 20, 2012
Stole 2 hours from my life, a huge letdown. Started semi-promising but towards the end I found myself scratching the arm of my chair, I was bored, couldn't wait the movie to end. The final "battle" was absolutely chaotic and shallow. BurtonStole 2 hours from my life, a huge letdown. Started semi-promising but towards the end I found myself scratching the arm of my chair, I was bored, couldn't wait the movie to end. The final "battle" was absolutely chaotic and shallow. Burton seems to get to the end of dark, humorous,charcters with an English accent and elegance to put Depp in... Expand
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1
GreatMartinMay 18, 2012
Unless you are a fan of Johnny Depp and/or Michelle Pfeiffer, Eva Green, Helena Bonham Carter and/or Tim Burton you will have a hard time sitting through this almost 2 hour film of â
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2
asthobaskoroMay 16, 2012
The visual are top notch but Tim Burton never finds a consistent rhythm, mixing campy jokes and gothic spookiness. Dark Shadows suffering imbalance and ridiculous script and all A-list star here couldn't help much. Despite its intriguingThe visual are top notch but Tim Burton never finds a consistent rhythm, mixing campy jokes and gothic spookiness. Dark Shadows suffering imbalance and ridiculous script and all A-list star here couldn't help much. Despite its intriguing trailer, Dark Shadows turn to be dead and boring entertainment. Expand
1 of 1 users found this helpful10
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2
Princess_PeachMay 15, 2012
The trailers made this movie look like it was going to be funny and entertaining, I'm a huge Helena Bonham Carter, Johnny Depp, and Tim Burton fan, but this movie was bad. There were funny parts but overall a bad film. There was no characterThe trailers made this movie look like it was going to be funny and entertaining, I'm a huge Helena Bonham Carter, Johnny Depp, and Tim Burton fan, but this movie was bad. There were funny parts but overall a bad film. There was no character development and the story was all over the place. There were way too many flaws in the story for me to be able to like it. Expand
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2
TVJerryMay 15, 2012
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 are deadly dull. In this vague nod to the TV series, Johnny Depp stars as Barnabas Collins, who returnsThis 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. Expand
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RetroheadMay 13, 2012
Sorry to say this movie stank! For the first time this year I feel cheated out of the ticket price. It's a funny thing, as I usually love Depp/Burton movies. Sorry nothing to spoil really, as all the good scenes were already put in theSorry to say this movie stank! For the first time this year I feel cheated out of the ticket price. It's a funny thing, as I usually love Depp/Burton movies. Sorry nothing to spoil really, as all the good scenes were already put in the trailers. Watching this movie was like watching a ceiling fan, for two hours! Whollmoley what were they thinking. I will probably rent it for $1 at redbox just to see how it ended. Yes this is the first movie I walked out on in years. Expand
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BartMay 13, 2012
What a piece of crud. This movie sucked (pardon the pun) almost as much as the Twilight films. Someone please make Burton and Depp from making movies together. A TV show with over 1,000 episodes that ran for years cannot be made into aWhat a piece of crud. This movie sucked (pardon the pun) almost as much as the Twilight films. Someone please make Burton and Depp from making movies together. A TV show with over 1,000 episodes that ran for years cannot be made into a condensed two hour movie. Don't waist your time. Go see Avengers again, like many people did. Expand
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3
theofficeMay 13, 2012
The movie is NOT a comedy. All the "funny" parts are in the trailer. I'm not even sure what genre it belongs in as it isn't scary either. Just kind of a dumb high budget B film you'd expect to see straight to dvd these days.
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2
MegWhiteleyMay 11, 2012
I don't know what happen with Burton, I remember Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Ed Wood, and The Nightmare Before Christmas, excellent movies, but now he do blockbusters for kids, or really terrible movies, Dark Shadows is a greatI don't know what happen with Burton, I remember Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Ed Wood, and The Nightmare Before Christmas, excellent movies, but now he do blockbusters for kids, or really terrible movies, Dark Shadows is a great example. The trailers are really funny, but when you watch the movie, you can watch the bad development, the terrible performances (really? Deep again?) and all the problems that Dark Shadows have. Funny in some moments, but the biggest part of the movie is terrible. Expand
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