Sleepy Hollow

1999

Sleepy Hollow

Critics Consensus

Sleepy Hollow entertains with its stunning visuals and creepy atmosphere.

68%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 127

80%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 606,893
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Movie Info

Washington Irving's tale of Ichabod Crane and the Headless Horseman gets a few new twists in a screen adaptation directed by Tim Burton. In this version, Ichabod (Johnny Depp) is a New York City detective whose unorthodox techniques and penchant for gadgets make him unpopular with is colleagues. He is sent to the remote town of Sleepy Hollow to investigate a series of bizarre murders, in which a number of people have been found dead in the woods, with their heads cut off. Local legend has it that a Hessian ghost rides through the woods on horseback, lopping off the heads of the unsuspecting and unbelieving. Ichabod refuses to believe in this legend, convinced that there must be a logical explanation for the murders. In time, Ichabod becomes smitten with a local lass, Katrina Van Tassel (Christina Ricci), who is the sweetheart of the burly Brom Bones (Casper Van Dien), and he becomes determined to capture the murderer to prove his bravery and win her heart. Christopher Walken, Jeffrey Jones, and Christopher Lee highlight the supporting cast; Lee's appearance is particularly apt, since Burton has cited the Hammer films of the 1960s as a major influence in making this film. Andrew Kevin Walker and Tom Stoppard contributed to the screenplay. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

Cast

Johnny Depp
as Ichabod Crane
Christina Ricci
as Katrina Van Tassel
Miranda Richardson
as Lady Van Tassel
Casper Van Dien
as Brom Van Brunt
Michael Gambon
as Baltus Van Tassel
Christopher Walken
as Headless Horseman
Marc Pickering
as Young Masbeth
Michael Gough
as Hardenbrook
Christopher Lee
as Burgomaster
Jeffrey Jones
as Steenwyck
Lisa Marie
as Lady Crane
Ian McDiarmid
as Doc Lancaster
Claire Skinner
as Beth Killian
Martin Landau
as Van Garrett (uncredited)
Alun Armstrong
as High Constable
Ray Park
as Headless Horseman
Mark Spalding
as Jonathan Masbeth
Peter Guinness
as Icahbod's father
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Critic Reviews for Sleepy Hollow

All Critics (127) | Top Critics (32) | Fresh (86) | Rotten (41)

Audience Reviews for Sleepy Hollow

  • Sep 25, 2016
    Sleepy Hollow manages to impressively balance out a brutally graphic premise with an interesting mystery and decidedly timely humor. It's easily one of Tim Burton's most entertaining adventures to date. Period pieces are ripe for great horror flicks. To me, the creepiest film of 2016 has been The Witch, and that's large part due to the eerie 17th century setting on a secluded farm. Sleepy Hollow is a much more habited town, but the same eerie tone is set brilliantly by cinematographer, Emmanuel Lubezki. I love the way he and Burton used the town itself as a character which is a part of the mystery. Speaking of the mystery, It's nice to see Burton tackle a mystery, which I believe is the only time he's ever ventured into that genre. And he handles it well for the most part. A good portion of the film focuses on why exactly a headless horseman is taking out certain members of the Sleepy Hollow community, with Johnny Depp's Ichabod Crane at the center of the investigation. Crane, in typical Burton fashion, is a bit of an eccentric and unpredictable twist to his detective style. But the real issue with some of the mystery is that the third act reveals come at a rapid pace and the story gets a little convoluted. With that said, once we get caught up as an audience, Burton gives us a juicy climatic showdown with the infamous horseman, and it doesn't disappoint. He's done a few horror films, but Sleepy Hollow ranks up there with some of his best overall features. It has his distinguished tone and style with plenty of colorful kills by one of the great horror villains of all time, the headless horseman. An awkward romance and a somewhat convoluted third act prevent it from being flawless, but it's more than just your average horror entertainment. +Lubezki +Burton hits all the right beats +Amazing climax +Well-crafted -Iffy romance -Somewhat confusing reveals 9.0/10
    Thomas D Super Reviewer
  • Jun 25, 2016
    Excellent atmospheric thriller is both fun and funny while being fairly frightening in some spots. Mostly it's about the set decoration which consists of the entire town of Sleepy Hollow, built from the ground up to meet Director Tim Burton's vision of what Sleepy Hollow should look like. The acting is fine, if a bit silly at times, but this is actually a lighter mystery than conventional horror or gothic ghost story. Depp is fun as Crane, although Ricci is a bit miscast as the object of his affection. And honestly, Burton could have made better use of Christopher Walken, who is reduced to a fairly inconsequential role. We rarely see him, except in very brief glimpses of head-chopping and off he goes on his dark pony. I enjoy this movie a great deal, if mostly for the near-perfect set decoration, atmosphere and mood. Lots of nice images of spooky jack-o-laterns, misty fields and wet marshlands. It's alot of fun but seems to go on a bit too long and overstay its welcome. 15-20 minutes leaner might have been a wise move. But, overall it's a lesser effort from Burton but still one of his best and most enjoyable if you don't pick apart some liberties he took with the story. Nice annual tradition to watch around Halloween.
    Mark H Super Reviewer
  • Sep 18, 2015
    It's been a long time since I've seen this movie. I seem to remember seeing parts of it on TV, but I did actually go see this movie in the theaters. I must have been 11 or so at the time when I went to saw it. My mom was cool like that. Anyway, for some reason, I had a desire to watch this movie again. I will say that, while this movie probably doesn't hold up as well, I had a lot of fun going back and revisiting this movie. One of the things that I must say is that the gore and practical special effects look absolutely fantastic, even 16-17 years after the fact. Granted the film did cost $100 million to make, so they'd have more money to make it look better, but even with that, the movie's decapitations and decapitated heads look pretty fantastic. Usually in horror movies, when they show the severed head, it looks absolutely nothing like the actor portraying them. Not in this film, the heads look eerily similar to the actors, to the point where it's almost creepy to see them. And the actual editing for when the horseman, or anyone else for that matter, cuts the heads off of people looks excellent. So, for me, that part of the film holds up better than even films that came out in the last five years. The cinematography is also fantastic, like a dark Gothic horror film come to life. It, obviously, pays tribute to Hammer films in this approach. It should be obvious to any fan of Hammer films that parts of this film were obviously tributes. With that said, it still falls in line with Tim Burton's visual style and approach to cinematography in his movies. And, no surprise, before he became a Disney mascot, Johnny Depp is real entertaining here. What I like about Depp's portrayal of the character is the fact that, as a hero, he's pretty damn ineffectual. He faints at the slightest hint of blood or gore or just plain being scared and he's also afraid of spiders. He also hides behind women and children when he's facing something that might be dangerous. I definitely liked how Johnny Depp portrayed the character. And it's actually, more in line, with his post-Pirates efforts than his films prior to Sleepy Hollow. It's a little more goofy and funny. With that said, I think the film's narrative isn't great, though it makes up for it with some great atmosphere and gore. Though I will admit that the film embraces the B-movie thrills like nobody's business. It's a fun movie to watch honestly and the fact that it's gory means that it's probably a lot of fun to watch with a group of friends. I will say that the film, while not being great, does craft a pretty interesting mystery to figure out that I, honestly, had forgotten all about, so it's like watching it for the first time all over again. So that was good. It's not the best of Burton's and Depp's collaborations, Dark Shadows would have take that dubious honor, but it's far from the worst and it's, quite frankly, a lot of fun to watch in spite of that. I'd recommend it if you haven't seen it yet, it's a good and entertaining horror film.
    Jesse O Super Reviewer
  • Nov 09, 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.
    Christian C Super Reviewer

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