America's top critics are branding "Dark Shadows" frightful for all the wrong reasons.
From the Wall Street Journal to the Los Angeles Times, the reviews for the latest collaboration between Tim Burton and Johnny Depp are frosty, with the Warner Bros. film receiving a mediocre 41 percent "fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Though the New York Times broke with the pack to call the big screen adaptation of the campy television soap opera Burton's most enjoyable film in years, most papers and websites griped that the director has once again concentrated more on visual flare than plot.
"Dark Shadows" hits theaters today where it faces an uphill battle against the mega-grossing and critically acclaimed superhero film, "The Avengers."
Also read TheWrap's review:: 'Dark Shadows': It's Not Just the Vampire That Sucks in Tim Burton's Retread
Here's a look at what the critics are saying about the vampire comedy.
The Wall Street Journal calls the film intermittently amusing, but says it is mostly a piece of "over cooked camp." Critic Joe Morgenstern is particularly dismissive of Depp's portrayal of vampire Barnabas Collins.
"Mr. Depp bites off less than he can chew by sampling bits and bytes of former roles: the fey lilt of Jack Sparrow, the epicene affect of Willy Wonka, the elaborate courtliness of Don Juan DeMarco," Morgenstern writes.
In the Los Angeles Times, Kenneth Turan complains that "Dark Shadows" suffers from Burton's weak command for story structure and an unsuccessful attempt to be both scary and funny.
"'Dark Shadows' is as good an example as any of what might be called the Way of Tim, a style of making films that, like the drinking of blood, is very much an acquired taste and, unless you're a vampire, not worth the effort," Turan writes.
TheWrap's Alonso Duralde is even more savage in his assessment, labeling the film an "expensive, all-star bore."
“'Dark Shadows' reminds us that Tim Burton is the Woody Allen for Hot Topic shoppers — going in, you never know if you’re getting one of his great movies or one of his duds," Duralde writes. "This one falls firmly, thuddingly, into the latter category."
Also not having it is The Detroit News' Tom Long who writes that the antics of Barnabas Collins will bore audiences to death.
"How bad is 'Dark Shadows'? It makes you long for a 'Twilight' movie," Long warns. "That's bad."
One of the few critics who enjoyed the taste of Burton's nostalgic riff on the television sudser is The New York Times' Manohla Dargis.
Calling the film "pleasurable" and "bewitching," Dargis writes, "'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."