‘Dark Shadows’: The Reviews Are In!

Johnny Depp and Tim Burton’s latest is ‘ghoulishly endearing’ but ‘mostly unfunny,’ critics say.
By Kevin P. Sullivan
Johnny Depp in “Dark Shadows”
Photo: Warner Bros. Johnny Depp and director Tim Burton’s latest collaboration, “Dark Shadows,” once again has the actor donning some white powder makeup, but this time around, their work isn’t charming the critics as much as previous films. The critics agree that Depp is in his usual top form and Burton’s visuals still demand attention, but some issues with the script keep “Dark Shadows” from being all it can be. Check out what the critics are saying about “Dark Shadows”: The Story
“As a child, Barnabas and his wealthy family sailed from England in 1750 and founded the fishing village of Collinsport in coastal Maine. They spent 15 years building the grand Collinwood Manor, where a maid named Angelique (Eva Green) loved Barnabas passionately, but he never returned her affections. Because she felt scorned — and happened to be a witch — she turned him into a vampire, chained him up and stuck him in a coffin in the ground. Nearly 200 years later, a construction crew unearths him and sets him free.” — Christy Lemire, Associated Press Johnny Depp
“Depp’s performance is more than just funny — it’s ghoulishly endearing. He caresses each line with great care, as if it were a piece of candy he’s unwrapping, and he gives Barnabas, in his very ‘demonic’ intensity, a quality of almost elfin innocence that recalls the characters Depp has most memorably played for Burton: Edward Scissorhands, Ed Wood and Willy Wonka. But ‘Dark Shadows,’ entertaining as it is, is a milder echo of those earlier collaborations.” — Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly The Script
“It’s hard to suppress my preference for talking about the original over Tim Burton’s film, which isn’t a remake so much as a mostly unfunny camp sendup. 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.” — David Edelstein, NPR Compared to Other Depp/Burton Films
“And yet I wonder if the ongoing Depp/Burton collaboration has its pitfalls. Depp often settles for posing and making droll faces, in reaction-shot mode, instead of building an eccentric comic portrait of any size. I long for the energy and invention of a performance such as Depp’s Ed Wood in Burton’s ‘Ed Wood.’ But then, that wasn’t a $125 million international export.” — Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune The Final Word
” ‘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.” — Manohla Dargis, The New York Times Check out everything we’ve got on “Dark Shadows.” For breaking news, celebrity columns, humor and more — updated around the clock — visit

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