Sleepy Hollow Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ March 21, 2007
Tim Burton and Johnny Depp are a wonderful combination and once again Burtons twists to a classic make it a fun ride.
Super Reviewer
July 7, 2007
Burton creates the best homage to the Universal monster films of the late 30's, early 40's that I've ever seen in this steroid-injected take on the old Washington Irving tale of a horse-riding phantom of doom. Not everything goes smoothly. Johnny Depp has to "do" scared wimpy guy a bit too much, making other actors have to react disgustedly too much as well. It gets old after the third or fourth time. Walken's ghost growls sometimes too long ("stop growling and do something, f'cryingoutloud!" I'd think). And Ricci ... was she only a stand-in for Winona Ryder? Whatever, despite these niggling concerns, the work succeeds in eliciting the romance those films of old simmered in, the mood and nuance. I loved it.
Super Reviewer
June 24, 2007
A handsomely shot and decorated film from the always gothic Tim Burton about the legend of Sleepy Hollow and the headless horseman (the terrifically casted Christopher Walken), and how Ichabod Crane (Johnny Depp) ventures to the mythical town of Sleepy Hollow to investigate some suspicious murders done by the villain. While the acting pretty much sucks, and Depp is still doing his "hands acting" thing way too much, the dark nature and atmosphere that permeates the film is unmistakable. Burton definitely has a feel for this story, as well as how to capture the look of it from a cinematography standpoint, it is just too bad the acting is so bad. Which more or less pushes this film into "campy" territory far too often. So, it's a toss-up. I really liked certain parts of it but then some aspects were so terrible you can not help but laugh. So, not the worst movie I have ever seen, but far from the best. Although I will admit I enjoyed it even when it gets utterly ridiculous.
Super Reviewer
May 29, 2007
New York City constable Ichabod Crane, despairing at his police force's archaic methods of investigation seeks to prove himself on a murder case in Sleepy Hollow where several of its citizens have been found decapitated. The American literary classic gets the Burton treatment in this lavish re-imagining of the familiar tale of the headless horseman. Johnny Depp brings his usual brand of quirky charm to the part of the olde worlde CSI wannabe whose faith in science and reason is tested by coming face to face with a ghoulish spectre; in fact this part can be seen as the prototype of the slightly inept, not entirely courageous pirate we all know and love. This film unites all the elements that make me love Tim Burton's work and is a kind of gothic fantasy homage to Hammmer horror with the perfect blend of gore, humour and swashbuckling tied up in an ingenious whodunnit plot. Visually it ranks amongst Burton's best, with fantastic sets, beautiful period design and superb effects that is bolstered by an outstanding ensemble cast that breathe life into this off beat historical world that is tinged with the supernatural. Scary, exciting and fun, I would have to say that for my money this is the best of Burton's films.
Super Reviewer
½ November 9, 2013
Although not true to the original material, it was an exciting, visually attractive Tim Burton film with a nice mystery to boot. Johnny Depp was not the best casting choice, in my opinion -- he made the story a little absurd at times. I think this is one of the last films Jeffrey Jones made before his infamous criminal conviction, so that makes it a little more creepy, I suppose.
Super Reviewer
September 10, 2007
I believe this was one of my favourite movies back when i was like 11yrs so now that im nearly 20 i have to say it is still one of my favourite movies! I enjoy Tim Burtons movies and of course with burton your pretty much guarenteed Depp as well which he was the right choice for this quirky but slightly dark depressive character! And Walken was the perfect choice for the horseman as he is also a quirky and gives of a sincere dreery character! My favourite spooky movie, i like the way its told in a kind of spooky horror story way!
Joel K.
Super Reviewer
November 7, 2011
Johnny Depps performance and Tim Burtons deeply stylish imagery manage to salvage the inane plot and over the top action sequences which act as nothing but a relentless and un-exciting barage on the senes. All the characters beyond the lead are flat and some great actors (Michael Gambon among them) are not given the screen time they deserve. On a better note, fans of Danny Elfman will be pleased with his epic soundtrack. Sleepy Hollow is dumb eye candy, but should keep you nicely entertained, just dont expect to remember much about it 5 minutes after its over.
Super Reviewer
½ September 6, 2010
The late 90s wasn't a great time for Burton, after he made Mars Attacks, that is. And I really love this movie, but I couldn't give it the full five stars that it should have gotten. Why not? The horrible special effects. They really bothered me in this movie. They weren't any better than in Mars Attacks, but I suppose it couldn't have been helped? Anyway, I love this movie because of the great cast, the classic story being brought to life by one of my favourite directors, and the dark, scary, gorey way that it's brought to life. This was the scariest movie from Burton yet, so please check it out if you're a fan of his.
Super Reviewer
July 31, 2007
After rewatching this, I came to realize this movie isn't that great. With a screenplay this dreadfully bad and some awful acting, mostly by Johnny Depp whom I usually like, all that is left is Tim Burton's vision, which would be a lot more appreciated coming from Tim Burton the art director than the film director. In all of his movies, I always have the feeling his direction for the screen is a bit clumsy and, in Sleepy Hollow, it comes close to be as mediocre as what Burton did with Alice in Wonderland.
Super Reviewer
½ July 17, 2011
I think this movie does not get enough recognition for just how good it actually is. The whole colour of the film that kind of dirty grey green light like the colour of pond water, stays with you after the film has ended. And although Johnny Depp is hot, especially as an English man, he is also a spectacular actor as showcased classically in this movie.
Super Reviewer
July 13, 2010
Been meaning to see this for a very long time, even though I have heard nothing that didn't include sarcastic airquoting and rolling of the eyes. True, the horrific premise (That was a pun. Not a good pun, but a pun.) was a concept only Burton could tackle, but then again, caution should also have been doled out when dealing with a simplistic storyline, that when expanded could indeed implode. Sadly, this is the case for the movie adaptation of The Headless Horsemen, a brickabrack of conspiracy theories, beheadings, and an eerie location, where the sun never shines, and everyone is somehow related to everyone else in town, an Applachian cousins reference if ever I've heard one. Ichabod Crane, usually portrayed as a pants wetting example of what not to do, was cast, you guessed it, by Johnny Depp. Depp throws on another proper English accent, then promptly faints a lot. The character is in no way complex, which leads me to not care whether the horsemen nails him with a sword or not. Besides all the clumsiness, you have legendary actor, and complete goof, Christopher Walken playing the horsemen, aquamarine eyes and pointed teeth to boot. Through a set of gnarled growls, he transforms into a terrifying monster. (NOT! No one's used that joke since '99, but that's when the movie was made, so it's okay.) I did enjoy the scenes of violence, I mean, who doesn't. Don't want to be too harsh to a film that tried its best, but when your story is more complex than the Pentagon Papers, you lose your audience's interest real fast.
Super Reviewer
May 27, 2007
Does Tim Burton reuse his set pieces in his movies? Because I feel like I've seen this kind of movie before. Which sounds hypocritical coming from me considering I defend Woody Allen through thick and thin but I'm just not a Burton devotee. Beautiful set design, beautiful noises, beautiful everything. It's a delight to watch and the story is interesting, but I just can't get on board with the stilted dialogue and lengthy action scenes.
Super Reviewer
½ March 20, 2011
Tim Burton is at his best with the best tale of Sleepy Hollow ever made. The production was tremendous, 10 on a scale from 1-10. The acting was good, a few cheesy mistakes. The plot was a great new spin on the tale. I loved this movie.
Super Reviewer
March 23, 2011
Tim Burton does a good job incorporating his dark quirky directional style with Depp's eccentric on-screen persona in this creepy tale of the Headless Horseman.
Super Reviewer
February 13, 2011
One of my favorites, and probably my favorite Johnny Depp movie ever.
Super Reviewer
April 8, 2010
It's kinda nice... I guess. Maybe a little too goofy for me.
Super Reviewer
½ July 31, 2009
Johnny Depp and Tim Burton: one of the great Director/Actor love stories of our day. Collaborating in many fantastic films, the pair are the second most profitable partnership in the world, second only to Scorcese/De Niro. They've had their fair share of stinkers and their fair share of masterpieces, and Sleepy Hollow is definitely in the top bracket. Along with Edward Scissorhands, this film is one of their most completely realised, beautifully gothic and cleverly subtle pictures in the entire list. When Ichabod Crane's (Depp) futuristic antics involving autopsy and scientific methods finally snap the patience of his town's authorities, he is told to relocate his efforts to Sleepy Hollow, a town being terrorised by a headless horseman who's hobby is decapitating the villages inhabitants. As he embarks upon his quest, he soon finds out that not all is as it seems in the sleepy little town and not everyone is who they say they are.

As an excersize in art direction, this film is amazing. Tim Burton crafts every image in every scene until he has exactly what he wants, and it pays off. The beautifully gothic images abound and are incredible. Whether it's the creeping, twisted woods or an abandoned paddock, he makes every scene look its gothic best. When he eventually rears his... neck... the headless horseman looks fantastic. Atop his suitably gigantic horse, he makes for a terrifying yet captivating image as he lops off a record amount of heads in quick succession. Burton's use/overload of blood is something else you'll notice about the film. There is a lot. Usually it's used in sarcastic situations, but there is an abundance of the dark red liquid. Coupled with Burton's almost grayscale colour palette for the film, the bloody scenes are even more stiking than they normally would be. Where in some of his films, his overuse of gothic influences can get a little on the nose, in this one Burton uses it subtly and startlingly at times, making for a much more enriching and hauntingly beautiful experience. This, above all other aspects of the film, makes it such a triumph.

The acting is... varied. Depp's Ichabod Crane is a campaigner for true justice, frustrated by the oppression of those in power, as well as being a complete wuss when it comes to the sight of blood. Depp's natural ability carries him over the line, but there is a lot of the pantomime which can occassionally become too much and he lacks the depth which he showed in Ed Wood and Edward Scissorhands. The fainting spells get a little annoying before the end unless you are completely wrapped up in the aura of Depp and therefore beyond reasoning. He does have his good moments, however, like his incredulous outburst after his meeting with the headless horseman, but his performance is not his greatest. Christina Ricci is similarly pantomimic in her portrayal of Katrina Van Tassel, though she shows more of a through-line than Depp's Crane. The pair work well enough together to create some sort of chemistry, though they don't progress further than a superficial level. Christopher Walken is outrageously OTT as the headless horseman, making big angry faces and hissing a lot, having far too much fun being completely out of his mind. Miranda Richardson is fine as the piece's femme fatale, though her character development does seem a little too jumpy to be natural.

The script is great. Whilst it's not full of memorable phrases, it is a lot of fun and usually suits the mood of the piece. Though the end comes around far too quickly and feels quite rushed in comparison to the beautiful pacing of the first two thirds of the film. It does occassionally resort to the simplest versions of phrases in order to save time and get the point across, but in general, the script is a sound document.

If you choose to focus on the flaws in this film, you're going to end up missing one of the most incredible bedtime stories ever realised by head-slicing action onscreen. Tim Burton's incredible art direction and sarcastic feel for the story make for one of the most enjoyable, darkly funny and beautifully designed films you're ever gonna see. A must watch for any Burton fan or film lover.

Defining Scene:
The horseman puts a church under siege.
Super Reviewer
May 24, 2009
Johnny Depp is hysterical and brilliant in this! (As always.) Miranda Richardson is also bloody brilliant.
AC rating: Just Tim Burton on this one. Finally nice to hear him for a change! He's so soft spoken really. But it was still really interesting to hear about some of the details and the stuff with the cast.
Super Reviewer
February 19, 2007
A Grimm tale that could only be brought to life by Director Tim Burton. With an array of known British Actors;' Michal Gambon, Miranda Richardson etc and of course the leading role to none other than Burton's favourite male lead Johnny Depp.

The story thrives on it's mystery and secrets of a close community based in the 18th century, the costumes and dialogue capture the mood for this and the witchcraft, folk lore bring a mystical presence.
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