Critics Consensus

Critics Consensus: Dark Shadows Doesn't Scare Up Enough Laughs

Plus, I Wish is graceful and touching, and God Bless America is a wild black comedy.

by | May 10, 2012 | Comments

This week at the movies, Tim Burton and Johnny Depp reteam to spoof the 1970s horror soap opera Dark Shadows, with help from Helena Bonham Carter, Eva Green, and Chloë Grace Moretz. What do the critics have to say?

Dark Shadows


Tim Burton and Johnny Depp have made plenty of witty, macabre pictures together. Unfortunately, critics say their latest, Dark Shadows, lacks their particular brand of black magic — despite moments of oddball inventiveness, the film suffers from jarring tonal shifts that prevent the story from resonating. Based on the 1970s soap opera, Dark Shadows stars Depp as Barnabas, a wealthy 18th century playboy who becomes a vampire after breaking a witch’s heart. After a long slumber, Barnabas awakes to find himself in the 1970s — and in the center of the squabbling family that now occupies his old mansion. The pundits say Dark Shadows looks fantastic, and Depp is enjoyable as always, but the movie never finds a consistent rhythm, mixing campy jokes and gothic spookiness with considerably less success than earlier Burton/Depp collaborations. (Check out this week’s Total Recall, in which we count down Depp’s best-reviewed movies.)

Also opening this week in limited release:

  • Portrait of Wally, a documentary about the legal battle over a painting by the great Egon Schiele, is at 100 percent.
  • Sleepless Night, a French thriller about a dirty cop involved in a botched heist, is at 100 percent.
  • Under African Skies, a doc about a reunion between Paul Simon and Ladysmith Black Mambazo for the 25th anniversary of their Graceland collaboration, is at 100 percent.
  • You Are Here, a sci-fi drama about a woman who collects documents and recordings of a secret parallel world, is at 100 percent.
  • The Chilean import Bonsái, a dramedy about a struggling writer looking for inspiration for his autobiographical novel, is at 93 percent.
  • Patience (After Sebald), a cinematic essay on the work of writer W.G. Sebald, is at 93 percent.
  • Nobody Else But You, an offbeat mystery about the investigation into the death of a Marilyn Monroe lookalike, is at 88 percent.
  • Hirokazu Koreeda‘s I Wish, aa drama about a boy who hopes for a miracle to reunite his divorced parents, is at 87 percent.
  • A Bag of Hammers, starring Jason Ritter and Rebecca Hall in a dramedy about a pair of con men who reconsider their ways when they mentor a 12-year-old boy, is at 67 percent.
  • The Road, a horror movie about the discovery of terrifying secrets in the search for missing teens, is at 67 percent.
  • God Bless America, a black comedy about a terminally ill man who reacts violently to what he sees as the stupidity of contemporary culture, is at 62 percent (check out director Bobcat Goldthwait’s Five Favorite Films here).
  • Small, Beautifully Moving Parts, a dramedy about a pregnant woman who makes an impulsive road trip to visit her estranged mother, is at 50 percent.
  • Where Do We Go Now?, a comedy about a Lebanese town divided along religious and gender lines, is at 47 percent.
  • Transit, starring Jim Caviezel in a thriller about a family on the run from ruthless killers after stumbling upon a stash of money, is at 43 percent.
  • Girl In Progress, starring Eva Mendes and Matthew Modine in a dramedy about a teenager who attempts to stake out a life independent from her preoccupied mother, is at 35 percent.
  • Tonight You’re Mine, a romantic comedy about two young rockers who are accidentally handcuffed to each other, is at 33 percent.
  • The Cup, starring Brendan Gleeson in a drama about a jockey overcoming adversity with the help of a veteran horse trainer, is at 29 percent.
  • Hick, starring Chloë Grace Moretz and Blake Lively in a drama about a pair of young hitchhikers who run into trouble on the open road, is at zero percent.

Tag Cloud

Ellie Kemper TCA 2017 Britbox Ovation finale CW Seed Emmy Nominations strong female leads BET Awards Lifetime Quiz joker Western zombie renewed TV shows comiccon LGBT a nightmare on elm street Black History Month Photos mission: impossible dceu anime Lucasfilm indiana jones mockumentary 2015 FXX child's play Netflix Christmas movies crime drama YouTube Premium biography science fiction Disney Channel Set visit justice league zero dark thirty harry potter Trailer Comics on TV sequels SDCC classics IFC Films Disney+ Disney Plus 20th Century Fox See It Skip It television CMT aliens Kids & Family PaleyFest Schedule die hard rt archives Cartoon Network OWN war australia blockbuster Adult Swim TBS chucky Mudbound hollywood Funimation Ghostbusters CBS dramedy hispanic french VICE MTV cops Comic Book rotten movies we love Rocky animated obituary movie sag awards 72 Emmy Awards worst movies Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Pirates APB Film Festival political drama witnail Tumblr Awards directors MSNBC hist crime thriller best First Reviews Shudder cancelled television Polls and Games Star Wars screenings Pet Sematary Rom-Com Disney streaming service ID reviews Pride Month Best and Worst period drama A&E technology GIFs LGBTQ 2016 cinemax Film A24 Syfy canceled TV 24 frames crime based on movie Academy Awards comedies natural history Teen GLAAD Fox Searchlight festivals halloween tv Women's History Month Discovery Channel 2019 game of thrones Sci-Fi AMC dogs Cosplay Watching Series Acorn TV TIFF The Walking Dead Premiere Dates scary movies Rocketman TCA comics Star Trek thriller universal monsters Tomatazos toy story 2018 spanish language comic books tv talk Valentine's Day facebook BAFTA BET The Witch movies game show Universal video DC Comics YA blaxploitation Freeform E3 4/20 nbcuniversal Calendar New York Comic Con Opinion films Endgame football Interview Stephen King Hear Us Out stop motion Logo The CW revenge FOX Vudu IFC Podcast Lionsgate reboot golden globes asian-american book Crunchyroll The Arrangement screen actors guild sequel cults NBC stand-up comedy Sundance Cannes Year in Review SundanceTV Pixar Animation TCM japanese Esquire Avengers DC streaming service robots laika WarnerMedia Netflix Trivia Apple TV+ james bond emmy awards Tubi Television Critics Association dc Horror Superheroe Musicals criterion what to watch ESPN Walt Disney Pictures Apple TCA Winter 2020 parents cartoon Family Martial Arts miniseries Mary Tyler Moore fast and furious 2020 Turner Classic Movies spider-man medical drama satire spinoff Holiday BBC The Academy jamie lee curtis rotten BBC One The Purge Sundance TV independent news cooking USA RT History venice DirecTV Binge Guide mutant Fox News theme song Paramount Network nfl Marathons nature TruTV Rock supernatural spanish archives slashers remakes unscripted Superheroes History dragons Marvel Studios psychological thriller Pop TV cats GoT award winner Bravo Action Extras spy thriller Video Games series MCU doctor who adventure space Travel Channel Sundance Now Super Bowl south america E! Comedy TV Land zombies Mindy Kaling worst Baby Yoda Box Office sports Oscars canceled TV shows halloween Chernobyl Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt composers cars children's TV 2017 Anna Paquin ghosts President Nat Geo Emmys NYCC docudrama deadpool black talk show Sneak Peek anthology serial killer Drama Reality HBO Apple TV Plus Mary poppins franchise Election Hallmark Paramount werewolf Classic Film ABC YouTube Black Mirror binge crossover SXSW Marvel Television Comedy Central Hallmark Christmas movies National Geographic discovery versus batman romantic comedy Trophy Talk vampires TV renewals VH1 true crime green book 71st Emmy Awards Grammys Amazon Studios indie latino dark romance USA Network Song of Ice and Fire Music YouTube Red cancelled Country psycho Spring TV Pop Mystery Summer cancelled TV shows Christmas Amazon Prime critics Nominations Television Academy documentary Captain marvel stoner Amazon Lifetime Christmas movies documentaries American Society of Cinematographers ratings italian kids Holidays police drama casting FX christmas movies Awards Tour spain toronto video on demand FX on Hulu TNT social media San Diego Comic-Con Disney Plus Amazon Prime Video free movies Musical OneApp teaser Starz twilight Masterpiece El Rey Hulu Columbia Pictures ABC Family Red Carpet travel Brie Larson Fall TV Epix 007 concert Winter TV Spectrum Originals Spike DGA CBS All Access Mary Poppins Returns quibi Marvel Disney Turner CNN scorecard Tarantino singing competition WGN Countdown streaming RT21 45 PlayStation ITV Creative Arts Emmys superhero breaking bad Certified Fresh transformers Food Network PBS richard e. Grant name the review historical drama boxoffice TLC Elton John Peacock Showtime TCA Awards Nickelodeon Biopics Crackle DC Universe comic festival Infographic HBO Go First Look Toys Character Guide Winners Heroines X-Men Fantasy diversity Writers Guild of America VOD Thanksgiving adaptation BBC America all-time Arrowverse Reality Competition foreign elevated horror Warner Bros. HBO Max disaster Sony Pictures Shondaland sitcom politics Dark Horse Comics 21st Century Fox cancelled TV series