Planning a movie marathon? Be sure to skip these Johnny Depp films after dark. Check out our list of movies you shouldn’t watch at midnight!

Johnny Depp is known for taking on eccentric, dark roles that allow him to fully immerse himself in complex characters. While his acting abilities are undeniable, some of Depp’s most memorable performances feature disturbing imagery or unsettling themes that may not provide lighthearted entertainment in the late hours of the night. From Tim Burton collaborations to crime thrillers, here are six Johnny Depp movies that could give you nightmares if watched after dark.

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007)

One of Depp’s most haunting roles is as the vengeful barber Benjamin Barker, aka Sweeney Todd, in Tim Burton’s 2007 musical thriller. Based on the famous Stephen Sondheim musical, Depp sings and slashes his way through the gothic tale of Todd seeking bloody revenge against those who wronged him years ago. The film is a visual feast with its grand production design and cinematography capturing the dark and dreary London streets. However, it’s the constant blood and violence that make Sweeney Todd such an unsettling watch, even during the day.

From the very first scene, Todd is shown sharpening his straight razor with ferocious intensity, a chilling hint of the carnage to come. And come it does, as Todd slits the throats of nearly every customer who sits in his barber chair. Their blood cascades down chutes into the pie shop below, where Helena Bonham Carter’s Mrs. Lovett grinds up the corpses into her infamous meat pies. The graphic throat slashing and dismemberment is both disturbing and artfully presented, a testament to Burton and Depp’s vision bringing this macabre story to life. But it’s definitely not the kind of movie you want playing as you drift off to sleep. The haunting music and vivid violence will likely invade your dreams.

The Ninth Gate (1999)

Directed by Roman Polanski, The Ninth Gate is a supernatural neo-noir mystery that sees Depp taking on the role of Dean Corso, a rare book dealer who gets caught up in a disturbing hunt. Corso is hired by a wealthy book collector to analyze an ancient text rumored to contain demonic spells. As Corso delves deeper into decoding the mysterious tome, he finds himself entangled in a web of deception, black magic, and mounting supernatural occurrences.

Polanski crafts an unsettling atmosphere throughout as the line between reality and the occult slowly blurs. The plot moves at a deliberate, almost hypnotic pace that pulls the viewer deeper into its shadows. Depp is in fine form, conveying Corso’s growing unease and paranoia through subtle facial expressions and body language. But it’s the creepy visuals, from strange rituals to hellish imagery, that give The Ninth Gate an unsettling quality long after viewing. The slow-burning mystery leaves lingering questions long after the final frames, questions perhaps best left for the light of day rather than in the darkness of night.

Sleepy Hollow (1999)

Teaming up with director Tim Burton for the third time, Depp stars as Ichabod Crane, a police constable sent from New York City to investigate a series of bizarre decapitations in the village of Sleepy Hollow. Based on Washington Irving’s classic short story, Burton brings his signature gothic flair and production design to the tale of the legendary Headless Horseman. Sleepy Hollow is a visual feast with its autumnal color palette and elaborate costumes transporting viewers to 18th century rural America.

However, it’s the gruesome imagery of severed heads and mutilated corpses on display that give Sleepy Hollow its unsettling edge, even for Burton’s standards. One particularly creepy scene shows a farmer’s decapitated body hanging from a tree, his head placed ceremoniously below. Another chilling moment involves the Horseman slicing open a victim’s neck in graphic detail. While Depp brings his trademark wit and charm as the eccentric Crane, the gore and violence is enough to invoke disturbing dreams. The film builds suspense through eerie fog-filled forests and strange occurrences in the dark of night, perfect setup for a nightmare-inducing late night watch.

Donnie Brasco (1997)

In this crime drama based on a true story, Depp delivers one of his most compelling performances as undercover FBI agent Joe Pistone, who infiltrated the Bonanno crime family in New York City in the 1970s under the alias Donnie Brasco. Pistone spent years gaining the trust of mafia members, including Lefty Ruggiero played by Al Pacino, to gather intel and help bring down criminal operations.

Directed by Mike Newell, Donnie Brasco offers a gritty and unflinching look into the daily operations and inner workings of the mob. While Depp and Pacino are mesmerizing to watch in their complex relationship that straddles the line between friendship and deception, the film is also quite violent. Graphic shootings, beatings, and murders depicted in cold detail show the harsh realities and consequences Pistone faced undercover. Combined with the ever-present threat of being discovered, Donnie Brasco delivers constant tension and suspense until its climactic conclusion. It makes for gripping drama, but perhaps not the most relaxing viewing late at night when darkness plays on the mind.

Secret Window (2004)

Adapted from a Stephen King novella, Secret Window sees Depp take on yet another tormented soul as Mort Rainey, a reclusive writer holed up in his rural home. When amateur writer John Shooter, played by John Turturro, confronts Rainey with accusations of plagiarism, Rainey denies any wrongdoing and dismisses the man. But Shooter returns with increasing threats, and Rainey begins to doubt his own grasp on reality and whether Shooter is really stalking him or if it’s all in his head.

David Koepp directs this psychological thriller with mounting tension as Depp’s Rainey spirals into paranoia. The isolated setting surrounded by dense woods adds to the unsettling atmosphere and sense of being cut off and vulnerable. Depp, as always, commits fully to his character’s unraveling mental state through subtle changes in body language and facial expressions. But it’s the growing unease and not knowing whether the threat is real or imagined that makes Secret Window such an unnerving watch, especially alone in the dark of night when fears and doubts are more likely to creep in.

Don’t Look Now (1973)

In this lesser-known Nicolas Roeg film, Depp takes on a supporting but pivotal role alongside Christopher Eccleston. Adapted from a Daphne du Maurier short story, Don’t Look Now tells the haunting story of John and Laura Baxter who lose their daughter in a tragic drowning. While grieving in Venice, John believes he keeps seeing the apparition of their dead child which fuels Laura’s own psychic abilities.

As they try to solve the mystery, the film builds an absolutely chilling atmosphere through its dreamlike cinematography and eerie sound design. Tensions mount when John encounters two sisters, one of whom is blind but claims to see visions, and warns of impending danger. Depp plays the tormented character of John, his guilt and grief palpable. Roeg crafts a slow-burning psychological horror filled with haunting imagery both real and possibly supernatural. The ambiguous and unsettling ending leaves viewers with chills long after. Don’t Look Now is undoubtedly one of the creepiest and most unnerving films in Depp’s filmography, best saved for daylight viewing.

While Johnny Depp brings his signature talent and commitment to each of these complex roles, the dark themes, graphic violence, and unsettling storylines make these films less than ideal for late night viewing alone in the dark. Their disturbing and nightmare-inducing qualities are part of what make the films so compelling, but perhaps not the best choice if you value a good night’s sleep. For a lighter Depp film to unwind to after dark, look to his more comedic roles in films like Pirates of the Caribbean, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, or What’s Eating Gilbert Grape instead. But these psychologically intense Depp performances are definitely films better enjoyed and discussed during the light of day.

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