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

Fall TV YA Cosplay The Arrangement romance Trivia transformers dceu cops BBC Comic Book zombie Country American Society of Cinematographers Amazon Christmas ITV TruTV CNN Western Spring TV DC Comics GLAAD Drama travel CBS police drama discovery MSNBC RT History Rom-Com Paramount Comedy Disney Channel Spike crime drama MTV Universal IFC Horror Sundance Now Writers Guild of America Year in Review aliens See It Skip It composers ESPN President Warner Bros. war justice league DirecTV Creative Arts Emmys GIFs crime 24 frames Sci-Fi politics binge dc OWN TNT medical drama cats cooking A&E docudrama WGN harry potter golden globes 2015 Lifetime Rocky TCM 21st Century Fox Comedy Central Esquire BBC America Action Valentine's Day Showtime TCA 2017 Bravo TIFF USA Star Trek ABC Family TV AMC Schedule Premiere Dates Fox News Starz FXX Tomatazos Tumblr Reality Nominations Adult Swim Star Wars historical drama psycho comiccon FX 2017 Holidays Biopics adventure Trailer BET Food Network First Look Paramount Network Opinion political drama Cartoon Network Sneak Peek Grammys Nickelodeon TBS Disney Oscars Musical science fiction Calendar sitcom Syfy Crackle singing competition thriller Winter TV Super Bowl talk show cinemax TV Land Pixar Box Office History Polls and Games serial killer biography DC Universe Reality Competition Teen Musicals TLC Summer Pirates Rock APB Toys NBC Countdown sports spy thriller social media Dark Horse Comics Sundance Interview Pop FOX Ghostbusters USA Network diversity Ellie Kemper Netflix Hulu Red Carpet Extras boxoffice Mystery Superheroes CMT Podcast Emmys 45 Set visit Election The CW Infographic 007 Best and Worst Mary Tyler Moore Animation Certified Fresh Video Games ratings Logo supernatural TCA crime thriller Marvel Nat Geo PaleyFest Thanksgiving Martial Arts based on movie VH1 X-Men Marathons LGBTQ E! E3 HBO Winners Freeform VICE Masterpiece Britbox Awards Photos dramedy ABC Character Guide CBS All Access what to watch Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Kids & Family Watching Series vampires period drama technology PBS 2016 GoT SundanceTV El Rey Acorn TV NYCC Fantasy Mindy Kaling Lionsgate Music SDCC