Sleepy Hollow (1999)

Title: Sleepy Hollow (1999)

Director: Tim Burton

Synopsis: Taking place in 1799, a city detective, Ichabod Crane (played by Johnny Depp), is trying to convince the court that crimes, especially murders, should be solved with modern science instead of medieval tactics. The court decides that Crane needs to prove that his modern science can solve murders. To do this, the court sends Crane to the small country town of Sleepy Hollow. Contrary to the name, Sleepy Hollow is not so sleepy. There have been three murders in the past two weeks and the heads of the murder victims have been cut clean off, and never found. Although Crane is not looking forward to this horrific trip, he goes to prove himself and his science. Once in Sleepy Hollow, Crane learns that he is out of his element in the country and especially dealing with the people of Sleepy Hollow. Crane needs to work fast to learn the relationships and pasts of the townspeople before they are all killed as there continues to be more murders after his arrival. The townspeople are also skeptical of Crane’s scientific tactics as they all believe that these murders are a result of witchcraft.

Review: Although this movie is supposed to be a horror film, there are some goofy parts to it that make it seem more light-hearted than just plain dark and scary. For example, Crane faints several times throughout the movie because he cannot handle surprises. He faints about 4 or 5 times in the movie. The horseman’s part, played by Christopher Walken, seemed exaggerated and silly. For example, the horseman never talks but instead uses funny growling noises, again taking away some of the creepiness of the movie. It is interesting that Walken played a part in a movie, and is even part of the main story, but he has no spoken lines. It is a little disappointing because he has such a cool sounding voice.

I also enjoyed the scenery and the props in the town. Everything is supposed to be so dark and dreary and I really like the look and the feel of the scenes. I did not really like Crane’s flashback scenes. I thought the scenes were boring and ugly and did not fit with the scenery of the rest of the movie. I understand that the flashbacks were added to show why Crane wants to change traditional crime solving methods but they could have been portrayed better and more consistently. All of the flashbacks are so brightly colored whereas the rest of the movie is so gray and dreary it is so inconsistent and distracting.

This movie is a very typical Tim Burton movie, it even has Johnny Depp in it. Christopher Lee is also in this movie, although only a small role, he also acts in many other Burton films. The movie is dark and spooky with underlying goofy humor to lighten the mood. The characters in Burton’s films are usually overly animated. For example, in Burton’s Wonka, Johnny Depp plays Willy Wonka and he is somewhat of a dark character but he is overly silly at the same time. Therefore the tone and overall feeling of Burton’s movies are very similar.


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