New Superheroes Are a 'Fantastic' Bore

Now in theaters: "Dark Waters" and "Fantastic Four."

Dark Waters
It's supposed to be scary. It's not. "Dark Water" is more a ghost story than a horror film. None of it is remotely believable, not the characters, not the story, not even the set.

The real horror here is what happens when a very promising director (Walter Salles who did "The Motorcycle Diaries") and a fine cast (led by Oscar-winner Jennifer Connelly) end up trapped in a movie they can't escape.

We've seen all the scary set-pieces before. Done Better. More than once. There's a little girl with an invisible friend who's real. There's water that won't stop dripping. Sound familiar? "Dark Water" is not dark enough. You can still see the screen. Grade: C.

Fantastic Four
It'll take more than four superheroes to save the jobs of the Fox executives who green-lighted this project and promised two sequels.

"Batman Begins," "War of the Worlds" and "Spider-Man 2" have raised the bar on superhero movies and special effects. "Fantastic Four," which comes later and should be better, isn't good enough for TV.

Look at the characters: The guy who stretches, the invisible girl, didn't we see them in "The Incredibles" where they were, well, incredible?

In this take on the comic book classic, Mr. Fantastic (Ioan Gruffudd) uses his stretchy power to grab toilet paper out of another bathroom. Could I make this up? And Sue Storm (Jessica Alba) hates getting invisible because she has to take her clothes off. Every time The Thing (Michael Chiklis) is in a scene with another character, he's suddenly not that tall anymore.

This is completely incompetent filmmaking in every way. Even the lighting is too bright and perfect. You're always aware you are watching something artificial. On a scale of 100, this film is a "Fantastic Four." Grade: D.