Box art for Dark Shadows

Dark Shadows

action & adventure, comedy, sci-fi & fantasy

After being turned into a vampire by a jilted lover, Barnabas (Johnny Depp) is entombed for two centuries until he emerges into the very changed world of 1972.

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
  • Audience Score

common sense

PAUSE for kids age 13
1 out of 5
3 out of 5
Positive role models
0 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
3 out of 5
Positive messages
0 out of 5
3 out of 5
3 out of 5

Mixed-up Depp/Burton vampire comedy has blood, innuendo.

what parents need to know

Parents need to know that Dark Shadows is Tim Burton and Johnny Depp's big-screen adaptation of the cult '60s TV vampire soap opera, with a generous helping of silliness added. There's plenty of vampire violence and blood, though the blood is deliberately fake-looking, and the killings largely take place off screen. A flashback sequence involves a young girl's parents shipping her off to an asylum, where she's locked in a cell and receives electroshock therapy. While there's no nudity, there's lots of sexual innuendo and passionate kissing -- and a 15-year-old girl is disturbingly sexualized, often posing, dancing, or speaking in sexy ways. Language includes several uses of words like "s--t," "bitch," and "bastard"; the main character smokes pot in one scene, and supporting characters are shown drinking to excess. This isn't swoon-worthy vampire cinema a la Twilight, but Burton and Depp fans should enjoy the duo's always-quirky pairing.

what families can talk about

  • Families can talk about Dark Shadows' vampire violence. Is it scary or funny? Which is it meant to be? What's shown, and what isn't shown? How does that affect its impact?
  • Are the scenes with 15-year-old Chloe Grace Moretz sexy or uncomfortable? Is she too young for this material, or does the movie's playful tone make it OK?
  • How is Angelique portrayed? Talk about female stereotypes in novels and films, particularly the "sexual (but evil) temptress."
  • Why do you think so many of the characters in this movie drink so much? Does the movie treat this seriously or jokingly?

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

  • Tomatometer®

    reviews counted: 20
    see all Dark Shadows reviews
  • Audience


Top Critic Reviews

Rotten: At once a brash, strutting pop culture pastiche and gloomy exercise in self-cannibalizing nostalgia, "Dark Shadows" is depressing on myriad levels.

- Ann Hornaday, Washington Post, Friday, May 11, 2012

Rotten: This is not so much a coherent movie as it is a long, expensive joke in search of a purpose.

- Anthony Lane, New Yorker, Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Rotten: Handsome, vaguely true to the old soap opera, and inert.

- Bob Mondello, NPR, Thursday, May 10, 2012

Audience Reviews

3 stars

three stars

- YodaMasterJedi, Sunday, November 18, 2012

3 stars

three stars

- YodaMasterJedi, Sunday, November 18, 2012

2 stars

"It's silly and not very interesting. If your going to make a silly film then make it funny. Obviously this film didn't get the memo. I can't believe this movie is listed as a horror flick. Where was the horror? If someone finds it, please let me know. The acting was good. I think Depp has become too comfortable in playing these off beat quirky characters. It would be nice to see him in a thriller or crime suspense film for a change. The movie is forgettable. Which explains why it's taken me so long to write my thoughts on it. I forgot I watched it until I saw it on my profile page."

- LWOODS04, Thursday, November 8, 2012