1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sleepy Hollow Is a Genuine Fright-Fest
Tim Burton's films, often praised for the intensity of their mood, bring with them a glimpse of the darker side of the human psyche. His characters are often dis-jointed, dark, but at their core, always human. Often, his films are as centrally located around an individual, quite often the title role of the story....such examples include the title characters of films...
Published on June 30 2004 by Scott Kolecki
3.0 out of 5 stars Heads will roll
For the record, I didn't watch this movie expecting a deep plot or exceptional acting. No, I don't care that Irving's novel was "raped", as one reviewer put it. I watched it because I love Burton films and the dark feel he gives them. And what could be more entertaining than a Burtonesque film revolving around a ghoul who spends his beer drinking time galloping through...
Published on March 26 2003 by Chris the Proud American Patriot
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sleepy Hollow Is a Genuine Fright-Fest,
Tim Burton's films, often praised for the intensity of their mood, bring with them a glimpse of the darker side of the human psyche. His characters are often dis-jointed, dark, but at their core, always human. Often, his films are as centrally located around an individual, quite often the title role of the story....such examples include the title characters of films like "Edward Scissorhands, Jack Skellington of "A Nightmare Before Christmas", and Bruce Wayne in "Batman". It is his central character that the story seems to evolve around, and it is often seen from that perspective, providing the audience a narrative thread that they can relate to throughout the film. The same is true of "Sleepy Hollow".
Loosely based on "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" by Washington Irving, Burton's "Hollow" is seen from the perspective of Ichabod Crane (Johnny Depp (formerly seen in Burton's "Edward Scissorhands")), a New York detective/criminal investigator who is sent to the farming community of Sleepy Hollow to investigate the decapitations of several of the local townsfolk.
Burton weaves elements of the original "Legend of Sleepy Hollow" into his story, while creating backstory to further develop all the characters, from the families in Sleepy Hollow, to Ichabod Crane, even to the Horseman himself, centralizing the narrative of this story around Crane's investigation into the murders. While in Sleepy Hollow, Crane quickly learns of a conspiracy that seems to exist amongst the principals of the townfolk. With the aid of Young Masbeth (Marc Pickering), whose father was murdered by the Horseman, and Katrina Anne Van Tassel (Christina Ricci), Depp's love interest and daughter of the town's acting governor, Crane's investigation quickly leads him on a hunt that will take them to the very heart of evil, as they learn the fate of the Horseman, a Hessian Mercenary sent to fight in the American Revolution before falling to the sword when betrayed by two mysterious little girls many years before.
Filled with rich imagery, lavishly created special effects, and plenty of genuine frights, "Sleepy Hollow" promises to bring thrills, chills, and plenty of scares. Moreover, though, the story uses horror to aid the story, not replace it. Unlike so many horror movies released in the past ten years, Hollow does not rely on gore to create thrills, but instead, (as with most of Burton's work), it uses subtle mood, growing tension and human vulnerability to really bring the story home in a way that is both terrifying and immensely engaging.
Rated R for violence, gore and brief sexuality, this is not a film for the young. However, for anyone looking for a good scare with a great story, this is the film for you. (NOTE: This film is a departure from the original story by Irving.)
5.0 out of 5 stars A Classic Take On a Classic Tale,
In the trend of other Tim Burton films, the complextion of the film is creamy, and satisfying. It tells the common veiwer about Sleepy Hollow, yet puts new tantalizing details in the middle of well known scenes. It finally answers the reader of Washington Irving's book where this terror came from, and why it hunts and why it is indeed "headless". The cast is believable, yet the only weak point is Christina Ricci, who seems to be trying to hard to pull off her role. The cinematography is brilliant, something only Tim could do. It becomes dark at the right moments, and is bright and sugar-sweet when it tells the back story of Johnny Depp's mother, and once again is dark as it learns her fate. This film is not only wonderfully thrilling, but comedic in points where you would think it couldn't. Shall I say, they involve blood squirting, staining, spraying and squirting some more. Johnny Depp is a wonderful pick for this movie, as he gives us exactly what we want from anyone playing Ichabod Crane, plus a little bit more. Have fun, yet do not laugh for too long, or it will surprise with it's random and scary turns.
5.0 out of 5 stars We're Gonna Need Shorter Coffins...,
Ichabod Crane (Johnny Depp) is sent from NYC to Sleepy Hollow to investigate 3 grizzly, decapitation murders. Upon arrival, he finds out that the entire town is gripped by superstitious terror. It seems that these were no ordinary killings, and the killer is far from ordinary himself! A headless horeseman roams this place, seeking heads for his collection. The logical Ichabod soon realizes that he's dealing with the supernatural when he comes face to... um, well, shoulders with the dreaded horseman. He figures out that these are not random murders at all, but part of some diabolical conspiracy! Katrina Van Tassel (Christina Ricci) is a young, beautiful witch, who is either out to help or hurt Mr. Crane. Weird happenings, ultra-creepy atmosphere, and perfect casting, make SH a horror classic! Tim Burton has brewed a comic / gothic stew of darkness and dreamlike imagery. Check out Christopher Walken as the hessian! Christopher Lee even makes a cameo as the Burgomaster! There are familar faces from Harry Potter, Star Wars, and, of course, some past Tim Burton epics. Highly recommended...
4.0 out of 5 stars A decidedly different Hollow,
Washington Irving laid the foundation for this story. Burton built on that - a wonderful structure, but not what Irving had in mind. Fine.
Depp, of course, is wonderful as an overly straight-laced Crane. He's a hard-core realist, in a truly unreal situation. Ricci does an outstanding job, too. The real star, though is Tim Burton's visual sense. Just about every scene is at least tinged with his macabre sensibility, most especially the "fifth victim." Burton truly outdid himself with the bizarre array of instruments given to Crane for his scientific investigations.
I know this is just entertainment, but at least one anachronism stood out. Window glass at the end of the 18th century was still a hand-made product, with ripples and pontil marks. Here, though, just about every window was glazed with flat "float glass." I can't get too worked up over that, though.
The story is well paced, with a web of interlocking tensions between the main characters. The visuals create a rich, spooky ambience. This movie is easy to enjoy and well worth the time spent.
5.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining and Haunting,
By A Customer
I once went to a school called Washington Irving, home of the Headless Horseman. Naturally, I was intrigued to see this movie because I love Tim Burton, Christina Ricci, and of course, who could miss out on Johnny Depp? He was perfectly cast as Ichabod Crane, giving him a comically quirky persona, but those are the type of roles Johnny Depp is known for and pulls it off well.
Ichabod Crane is sent to Sleepy Hollow to investigate the mysterious beheadings in the town. Armed with his scientific know-how, he marches directly and tactlessly into the investigation, raising the eyebrows of the skeptical villagers. At first he scoffs at the villager's superstitions of a headless horseman, but as more people turn up dead, he begins to doubt his rational explanations. But Crane is detemined to get to the bottom of the mystery. The closer he gets to the truth, the more his life comes close to peril.
With Tim Burton's stunning yet haunting visuals and a wonderful screenplay, you'll be gripping your seat as this foreboding, more athletic version of the headless horseman comes to take the head of his next victim. Who in the town is trustworthy? Who will be next? You don't know until everything is unravelled in the end. Burton and Depp, rejoined for the first time since Edward Scissorhands are both known for their artistic eccentricity. Together they made a smashingly good film. This is the one to watch on Halloween if you want a scary good treat.
5.0 out of 5 stars The Greatest Art Film OF All Time,
By A Customer
Though very different from its roots, this Sleepy Hollow is the ultimate telling of Irving's tale.This is definatly one of the best directed horror films of all time. The backdrop pays justice to such gothic movies as THE CABINET OF DR. CALIGARI and NOSFERATU.
The uptight yet dashing Ichabod Crane is sent to a small town on the eastern side of the Hudson called Sleepy Hollow. Once you see the town, you are disturbed by the quietness. There is not a sound except for two sheep and one shutting window.Johnny Depp(who plays Crane superbly)looks scared.
He stays at the Van Tassel estate where he meets the richest family in Sleepy Hollow.Katrina Van Tassel(played exceptionally by Christina Ricci)becomes interested in Ichabod as does he to her. Baltus Van Tassel tells the tale of the Headless Horseman to Ichabod, a Hessian soldier who fought for carnage with his piercing eyes and teeth(when I say piercing, I mean piercing.)Of course Ichabod doesn't believe but eventually he does.Keep a sharp eye out for his atopsy instuments.It turns out, though, that Lady Van Tassel's(played deviously by Miranda Richardson)white clothes have a splash of jet black in them.
The scenery with its blue filter is amazing.The woods is presented in a quiet and suspenceful fashion.Watch out for the scene in the Crone's cave.It is the scariest scene in the whole film.The music's performance is hauntingly beautiful. Danny Elfman has made the perfect horror score(I've got the CD.)
Besides the high rate of gore, this certainly a wonderful film. To any who complain that it strays too far away from the original text, I have two things to say. One, it is a new kind of Sleepy Hollow that holds true to everything except the plot. Two, ignore the different storyline and look at how wonderfully this film was put together by Tim Burton.
5.0 out of 5 stars Perhaps a Comedy?,
Tim Burton is not a master of horror, or at least, those who think he is are probably far too easily horrorified. His movies are about quirky outsiders who don't fit in with an equaly strange world that they are better off without. I would imagine this is pretty much how Tim Burton himself feels.
My take on this movie is that it is infact a comedy. A hauntingly beautifull and surreal comedy, for sure, a morbid and twisted comedy, without question, but in the end, a comedy.
I always feel the edge of a wry wit in Burton's movies, as if he is mocking all those other grandiose, baroque, self-important producers who think of their films as the end-all be-all of both film and art. Clearly Burton doesn't take himself to serriously, but just serriously enough. Why I find this movie so intruigingly funny is that all of the deadpan characters seem to have a detached and ironic appreciation of how ludicrious they themselves are, an appreciation that is external to the movie itself. It's like they are winking at us through out, saying "now remember, it is just a movie." Unlike some directors, Burton keeps his perspective on Hollywood and the real world, not getting too wrapped up in a fantasy that confuses one with the other. That is probably why the movie isn't very scarry, but is, in a very subtle way, quite funny.
One of my favorate roumors was that the script was ghost written by Tom Stoppard. Given it's subdued but cheeky banter, I can see where these rumors come from. It may or may not be true, but either way, it certainly is in the vein of subtle self mockery and delicate sarcasm that has worked so well for both Burton and Stoppard. They are two artists who you can never be sure if they are producing a parody, or the real thing.
Perhaps that I see parody in it, at least partly, says more about me than it does about the movie. I can't say for sure that it was meant to be a comedy, but it is a different way of thinking about the film, and by all means, if you are of the frame of mind, I suggest trying it out.
5.0 out of 5 stars Sleepy Hollow,
This is my all-time favorite movie. Tim Burton's masterful artwork is shown to the maxium in this beautiful film. Based on the famous, yet humorous tale, "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow," by Washington Irving, this movie takes that folk tale to a whole new level of suspence and mystery.
Johnny Depp plays Ichabod Crane, a forensic scientist, who is sent to Sleepy Hollow to investigate several horrific murders, all found with their heads 'removed.' Ichobod, a man of sense and reason, does not believe in the Headless Horesman, who the townspeople say is behind these murders, not until he sees him for himslef. Crane makes several discoveries that leads him to believe that the horesman is being controled by a person of flesh and blood. Ichabod falls head over heels for the mysterious Katrina van Tassel, played wonderfully by the beautiful Christina Ricci, who has secrets of her own.
After much investigating, the person behind these murders is revealed, too much of the audiences suprise.
This movie is fantasic and I whole-heartedly reccomend this book to anyone who is a fan on Tim Burton.
4.0 out of 5 stars Extraordinary ambience.,
This review is from: Sleepy Hollow (VHS Tape)
For those of us who have never read Washington Irving's short story, Tim Burton's 'Sleepy Hollow' proved to be an enjoyable substitute. Burton's love of British Hammer horror movies and a cast full of British character actors meant that the humour in the film gave you the feeling you were watching a 'Carry On' movie from the 1960's. A humour that perhaps wasn't so successful as many of the American actors ie. Depp and Ricci seemed a bit aloof and wooden. Although it has to be said that Christina Ricci was chosen by Burton because she reminded him of a silent movie star.
The set designs on this film are pretty amazing and it's difficult to believe that 90% of the film was shot in the studio, even the west woods. Set buliding is not often seen in movies anymore. Production companies think it's too expensive and shooting, as is, on location gives a greater sense of naturalism. Kudos then to Tim Burton in creating an authentic representation of turn of the 19th century upstate New York, filled with his own idiosyncratic designs such as Depp's David Cronenberg-like operating equipement.
Other Burtonian themes also occur. Casper Van Dien plays the bully that gets his comeuppance as did Anthony Michael Hall in 'Edward Scissoehands' and Jack Black in 'Mars Attacks. Also interesting to note executive producer Francis Ford Coppola who also had a credit in 'Bram Stoker's Dracula' and 'Mary Shelly's Frankenstein' and seems to be something of a literary gothic fan.
4.0 out of 5 stars Actually Enjoyable...Even If You Don't Like Horror,
As my friend and I were picking out movies to watch recently, she chose this one and I cringed. Was it a thriller (which I can generally handle) or a horror movie (which I generally can't)? Having enjoyed the movie, I am rather surprised to read that other reviewers consider this a horror flick.
As for the movie itself, it starts off in a darkly lit New York City. All the details of those opening NYC scenes can be a little confusing at times (was that guy being tortured in the court room?), but the main thrust is clear: Crane (Johnny Depp) sticks out on the police force in 1799 because he wants to solve crimes based on scientific methods. He nobly lobbies for his fellow policemen to go about their work more fairly, and so they send him to Sleepy Hollow to solve the case of the Headless Horseman.
True to his usual form, Burton suceeds in making Sleepy Hollow every bit as creepy as it should be. The set for this town truly makes the film come alive. As Crane comes into the eerie town, he tries to overcome his uneasiness and social awkwardness by investigating the crimes with a scientific method. However, after encountering too many mystical things in the town, his mind starts flashing back to mysteries from his own childhood. As his waking mind tries to solve the gruesome murders at hand, his sleeping mind is trying to remember what happened to his mother.
I don't want to ruin any more of the plot here. The screenplay definitely deviates from the cartoon I saw as a child - in some ways the motivation for the killings is more rational and in some ways the "solution" to the crimes is even more irrational. However, I was able to handle all the beheadings and other killings just fine. In fact, I was more amused by the subtle humor of the film than I was frightened by the gore of it.
As a side note, I wondered some about the overall smoothness of the dialogue and progress of of the plot. Though Depp once again masterfully takes on another persona, he was a bit wooden at times. I wasn't sure if that was intentional on his part or if Crane's noble and clear-thinking yet queasy character was hard for him to portray. In a similar manner, the dialogue between Crane and Katrina Van Tassel (Ricci) was occasionally awkward. But, then, I thought of how many times in my life conversations have been awkward, and that without a headless horseman...so perhaps that was intentional as well. Also, I thought the plot skipped around a bit, sometimes jumping illogically to the next scene. However, I'm not sure if this is the result of poor editing or a Burton act of genius to make one all the more uneasy. In any case, these little quirks pulled me out of the story at times and so it lost some momentum for me.
Finally, I would like to point out that witchcraft - both "good" and "evil" - are quite prevelant in the film. Depending on your view of witchcraft, you may not enjoy the ultimate lifting up of "good" witchcraft over all else in the movie.
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Sleepy Hollow by Tim Burton (DVD - 2000)
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