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"Dark Shadows": Should you seek your teeth into it?

Johnny Depp and Michelle Pfeiffer in "Dark Shadows."
Warner Bros.
Johnny Depp and Michelle Pfeiffer in "Dark Shadows."
Warner Bros.

(CBS News) Johnny Depp and director Tim Burton join forces for an eighth time in "Dark Shadows," the gothic horror-comedy film, opening Friday.

Also starring Helena Bonham Carter and Michelle Pfeiffer, "Dark Shadows" turns the late 1960s horror soap opera into a feature-film event.

Pictures: "Dark Shadows" premieres
Read more: "Dark Shadows" steps into the spotlight at two premieres

Depp plays Barnabas Collins, a rich, powerful playboy who's turned into a vampire and then buried alive. Two centuries later, he's freed from his tomb and emerges into the very changed world of 1972.

But is it something to seek your teeth into?

Some critics think so, because of the outstanding visuals and zest of the female cast. Others argue the plot leaves a lot to be desired, pointing out the tricky balance of wrapping comedy and horror around one movie.

"Dark Shadows" received a 42 percent Rotten Tomatoes rating, an indication that reaction has been mixed.

So, before you run out to get your movie ticket, here's a round-up of reviews:

Rolling Stone gave "Dark Shadows" 3.5 out of 4 stars, noting: "Burton's visuals are a sumptuous treat, as is Depp's unerring sense of mischief, playing Barnabas Collins, a vampire with family problems."

New York Times: "'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."

New York Post: "What stayed with me most was not the undernourished story line but the film's cool visuals -- the many sliding doors in Collin-wood Manor and wonderfully detailed docks in Collinsport and 19th-century Liverpool, all constructed on English soundstages and impeccably photographed by Bruno Delbonnel. Maybe it's because I share Burton's twisted affection for the 1970s, but for all its shortcomings, I'd sooner watch a sequel to 'Dark Shadows' than another installment of the bloated 'Pirates of the Caribbean' saga any day."

Film critic Roger Ebert: Tim Burton's 'Dark Shadows' is all dressed up with nowhere to go, an elegant production without a central drive. It offers wonderful things, but they aren't what's important. It's as if Burton directed at arm's length, unwilling to find juice in the story."

Chicago Tribune: "'Dark Shadows' illustrates the fine line in a pop reboot between 'relaxed' and 'lazy' ... Burton's 'Dark Shadows' isn't slovenly in terms of craft or technique; it's nicely cast and has its moments. But it feels extremely familiar and oddly impersonal, for a project inspired by both Depp's and Burton's youthful obsession with the show."

Los Angeles Times: "With Depp onboard as Collins, the director was free to construct his own version of 'Dark Shadows,' which plays much more fang in cheek, so to speak, than the more straight-ahead original. As a result, the film turns out to be an uncertain combination of elements that unsuccessfully tries to be half-scary, half-funny and all strange."