New York detective Ichabod Crane is sent to Sleepy Hollow to investigate a series of mysterious deaths in which the victims are found beheaded. Locals believe the culprit to be none other than the legendary Headless Horseman.
This film is so real. It treats its characters with so much care and sensitivity.
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By the time the dramatic fireworks start popping off, each one feels earned.
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The movie's not perfect, but it sticks the landing of its message. It was engaging - thrilling at times - and I personally thought it was a great time.
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What works in this sleepy hollow adaptation by Tim Burton? The haunting atmosphere and the fantastic production design. I feel like I was transported to Sleepy Hollow of the past centuries. Johnny Depp as the milquetoast constable Ichabod Crane is more than competent and frankly I could not have envisioned anyone in this role. Supporting cast are Christina Ricci and Casper Van Dien and of course Christopher Walken as the scary headless horseman. The pacing is excellent although I feel this is a niche film and you need to watch it with a certain mindset.
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Gnarled trees drip blood, Christoper Walken with sharpened teeth, and more decapitations than you can shake a stick at! Easily Tim Burton's grizzliest film and one of his most underrated. Burton consistently makes excellent films, but "Sleepy Hollow" typically isn't the first film people think of when asked what's your favorite Burton film? However, "Sleepy Hollow" really does deserve to be right up there as one of his best. It's deliciously bloody homage to 1960s Gothic Hammer Horror films and Italian horror pictures, ALA Mario Bava. Very loosely based upon the Washington Irving short story, this version has Ichabod Crane as a big city police detective sent into the small hamlet of Sleepy Hollow to solve a mystery surrounding a string of murders, beheadings to be precise. The film was written by Andrew Kevin Walker, the man behind the equally good, and grizzly, murder mystery "Se7en" and he does the same solid job of crafting a respectable who-done-it. However, just as with "Se7en," this film's success is really thanks to a strong director and strong cast and less so the script. Johnny Depp plays a very smug and uptight Ichabod Crane who looks down his nose at the rubes populating Sleepy Hollow, with the exception of a blond haired Christina Ricci, who has him completely befuddled. While Crane is sophisticated and intelligent, he's completely lost when it comes to women, social interactions, and, in general, the ways of the world, which is where this film version falls in line with the Irving tale. There's also Bram Bones, the headless horseman, and a few other trappings from the original story, but for the most part, this film strikes out on it's own, but it does feature some very fun nods to the classic Disney version of the Irvings story. Besides Depp and Ricci, there's a strong supporting cast that includes Miranda Richardson, Michael Gambon, Jeffrey Jones, Richard Griffiths, Ian McDiarmid, Martin Landau, Ray Park doing the fighting scene for the headless horseman, Christopher Walken as the Hessian Horseman, and Hammer Horror veterans Michael Gough and Christopher Lee. Overall, Burton's one foray into a hard R-rated horror film is a real treat for fans of 60s Gothic horror films and more in general anyone who just wants to fun, scary, bloody good time.
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Inspired by the Hammer films of old and hyper-stylish storytellers including Mario Bava, Tim Burton's 1999 release "Sleepy Hollow" is a successful and enthralling reinterpretation of Washington Irving's classic short-story that blends Gothic horror and slapstick comedy to an expert degree. From a script by makeup effects maestro Kevin Yagher and the delightfully twisted Andrew Kevin Walker, Burton's film aims high at bringing a tale everyone knows into the modern world of filmmaking, and it's an absolute blast from start to finish. With nonstop action and intrigue, moody and awe-inspiring atmospheric direction and a charming cast of characters who supply plenty of belly- laughs from start-to-finish, "Sleepy Hollow" is a wonderful film that continues to win over audiences to this very day, nearly twenty years after its initial release.Burton regular Johnny Depp stars as Ichabod Crane, a New York City police constable whose "modern" methods of scientific reasoning and deduction don't sit well with his by-the-books, old-school superiors. Ultimately tasked to prove that his cutting-edge ideas work, Crane is dispatched to the small village of Sleepy Hollow to investigate a troubling series of murders- a number of the town's residents have been slain, their heads removed from their bodies. Upon arrival, Crane is informed by the spooked and superstitious townsfolk that there is already a suspect- a devilish, spectral figured called the "Headless Horseman", whom has returned from Hell to claim more victims. Ichabod soon enough learns that despite his initial hesitance, the townsfolk are correct and he is dealing with a supernatural threat from beyond the grave. And thus, he must piece together the mystery of why this demented ghost of the past has only now returned to the world of the living...In many ways, you could call "Sleepy Hollow" the perfect Tim Burton vehicle, and it reflects and relishes in the mastermind filmmaker's various likes and eccentricities in virtually every moment. Burton has always been a beloved and yet somewhat polarizing figure in the world of film, as he has a distinct and definite style and methodology that either speaks too audiences or leaves them feeling somewhat alienated. His leaning on moody, dark and mind-warping Gothic visuals and sharp design, in addition to strong archetypal characters are a major strength in his many films, and give his movies a feeling all their own. And I think its a perfect fit for this particular story. His "Sleepy Hollow" is a world that seems to exist all on its own, and it helps to ground the film in its own sort-of delightful, fairy-tale eseque atmosphere. I also very much appreciated the visual contrast he injects into many scenes, which gives the film a dream like (or even nightmarish) quality. And yet, he's clever enough to know never to go too far into the world of the strange and devious, and makes sure to punctuate almost every scene with a sharp visual gag or character-centric joke to lighten the mood.The cast of remarkable performers Burton has assembled also do great justice to the material and help to drive the film forward. Depp, a friend and regular collaborator with Burton, is just fantastic in his role as the brilliant but sometimes cowardly and bumbling constable Crane. He is clearly having a complete and utter blast, and the feeling is contagious. His take on Crane is endlessly likable and endearing, even though he's far from being a perfect man. Christina Ricci is also a great deal of fun, portraying young Katrina Van Tassel, whom joins in with Ichabod in his investigation. While her role can feel somewhat underwritten and she's more-or-less there to provide a romantic interest, she does a very good job and adds much to the proceedings by being the "heart" of the film. A small army of veteran character actors round out the townsfolk quite well, including Michael Gambon and Miranda Richardson as the elder Van Tassel's, Richard Griffiths as a troubled Magistrate and Ian McDiarmid as the town's local doctor. They add a sense of class and realism to the proceedings that came very much appreciated. We even get a small but memorable turn from the brilliant Michael Gough as the town notary, which was a fun callback to his role in Burton's prior work on the "Batman" franchise. And then there's Christopher Walken, whom plays the role of the Headless Horseman in a key flashback scene early on. I won't spoil it, but fans of the actor are going to love seeing him here.I would also like to take a moment to discuss the continued collaboration between Burton and his longtime composer, Danny Elfman. While Elfman is now mostly recognized for his work on big, bombastic superhero-movie scores, a lot of his earlier compositions with Burton go under-appreciated, and I do think that "Sleepy Hollow" is among his most underrated work. The score for the film is just outstanding, and compliments every scene and moment fabulously. It's so deliciously moody and eerie, with a great, Gothic theme for the town and sinister background vocals in key sequences. It's just a phenomenal piece of work, and it's a shame the score doesn't get more love. It's perfect Halloween-time music.In the end, Tim Burton's "Sleepy Hollow" continues to excel and entertain, delivering a spooky but very fun ride that could be appreciated by all ages, were it not for the large volume of gore that probably makes it a bit too harsh for younger children. The characters are endearing. The mystery genuinely interesting. And the keen mixture of horror and comedy handled exceptionally. It's another masterpiece from its talented and beloved director, and it's one of my favorite go-to's for the Halloween season. Sure, there are some minor squabbles I have with the film, and they do hold it just shy of perfection for me... but the fact remains- this is a great, fun film. And I give it a fantastic 9 out of 10.
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Director Tim Burton's elaborate take on Washington Irving's tale of Ichabod Crane and the Headless Horseman doesn't have much in common with Irving but excels as a Gothic exercise in atmosphere and dark humor.This rich visual feast demands a viewer's attention with its stunning photography and art direction, with countless memorably framed shots of 18th Century New York, with its foggy woods and small town cobblestone streets. Lurking about, too, of course, is the legendary Headless Horseman who seems to be collecting an increasingly large number of heads of his hapless victims.This brings about the arrival of Crane, transformed by Burton from Disney's spindly school teacher of animation fame into an analytical would be Sherlock Holmes type detective. Only this detective is decidedly squeamish about blood (not to mention spiders) and, on at least one bloody occasion, will pass out. The role is an ideal showcase for Johnny Depp, whose Crane is both darkly handsome and a bit prissy. Depp is truly endearing in his part, an engagingly idiosyncratic individual who will eventually turn reluctant hero.None of the rest of the cast, while capable, make much of an impression next to Depp. A few old timers occupy that cast, however, including Christopher Lee, Michael Gough and Martin Landau. However, Christopher Walken also appears, chillingly, in a significant role.It's a shame, of course, that Burton's skills with narrative story telling are not nearly as effective as his flair for visual dramatics (as unquestionably impressive as the latter are here) and, as far as the story itself is concerned, the film is confused and falls a bit flat. Nor are the horror elements of the story all that horrifying, though this is a film in which the decapitations by the Horseman will keep the heads a rolling. Burton largely treats these moments of bloodshed and "terror" as darkly humorous more than anything else.More than any of the special effects involving the Headless Horseman, what stays with me are Depp's performance and, particularly, the Gothic elegance of this production. That alone makes Sleepy Hollow well with the investment of a viewer's time.