By Chris Porter
January 20, 2000
Tim Burton is back with a fresh and visually stunning take on the tale of the Headless Horseman with his new movie, “Sleepy Hollow”. Based (very loosely) on the story by Washington Irving, the role of Ichabod Crane, though portrayed as an 1800s New York City constable instead of a schoolmaster, is well played by Johnny Depp. Christina Ricci’s (personally, A favorite actress of mine) role as Ichabod’s love interest Katrina Van Tassel is an unmemorable experience, I think due in part to the writing and casting her in a role of this type. I also believe the other characters suffered from a similar lack of development, tending to leave audiences apathetic to thier direction in this film, or even why they’re in it.
To me, exceptions to this were Marc Pickering as young Masbeth, playing a very strong yet curious youth who vows to help Crane in avenging the deaths of his parents by the evil horseman, and Miranda Richardson’s versatile contrast of sweet and evil as Lady Van Tassel.
Visually, the movie is a crystal-clear masterpiece in proper Burton-esque style, and the sets seem transported directly from the storybook. Merciless beheadings, as well as an opening scene with a scarecrow sporting a pumpkin for a head, looks believable enough to bring out enough childhood nightmarish thoughts to send chills up the spine of the bravest soul. The soundtrack, to me, is hands-down, Danny Elfman’s best effort, and the horseman’s effects (ILM) were very realistic and scary.
However, I felt the plot could have used more detail, and the ending, anti-climactic. A pity, since I’m a huge Tim Burton fan. But, he can’t make them all Batman or BeetleJuice-calaber, I guess. Sleepy Hollow isn’t the best horror movie of the 1900’s, but it certainly isn’t the worst. Either way, you can judge for yourself. There are a lot of favorable qualities for seeing this movie, but my recommendation is to wait for video, as opposed to paying steep box-office prices.
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars