Movie Review: ‘Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

By Taylor Toothman |

“Sweeney Todd” is more than a musical. Way more. It is a slasher flick and epic gore fest with wicked songs and a waltz thrown in.

Johnny Depp has come a long way since “21 Jump Street,” and proves his acting — and singing — worth once again as the titular demon barber who picks the scariest place on earth to have a barber shop. In traditional Tim Burton fashion, this film exceeds expectation in his usual realm of the fancifully sinister. This is by far the most disturbing, dark, and psychotic movie he’s ever made.

Unjustly imprisoned by a lecherous judge — Alan Rickman in a surprisingly decent singing role — who craves his wife, vengeful barber Benjamin Barker changes his name and wardrobe and returns to Fleet Street 15 years later, singing his way to payback and eating the worst pies in London, provided by downstairs neighbor Mrs. Lovett — the creepy-as-ever Helena Bonham-Carter — who harbors her own special affection for Mr. T.

Sacha Baron Cohen makes an appearance as an Italian rival barber whose hilarious solo during a shaving contest is the high note, pun intended, of his performance.

This is a riveting, terrifying take on Stephen Sondheim’s 1979 twisted stage musical. The songs are delightfully demented. “A Little Priest” and “My Friends” are the most cringe-worthy and memorable. Who knew murder could be so entertaining? You’ll certainly be humming after the movie while scanning the parking lot for anyone with straight razors or a killer glare in your direction.

If you can get past the blood, the fact that Johnny Depp’s Sweeney Todd has more blood, cannibalism and grisly shaving accidents set to an elaborate score, then you’ve been warned and “Sweeney Todd” is for you. If not, go see “Alvin and the Chipmunks.”

Rated R for graphic bloody violence; 117 minutes.

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