Sleepy Hollow

1999 "Heads will roll."
7.3| 1h45m| R| en| More Info
Released: 19 November 1999 Released
Producted By: Paramount
Country: United States of America
Budget: 0
Revenue: 0
Official Website:

Ichabod Crane, an eccentric investigator, is determined to stop the murderous Headless Horseman.


Fantasy, Drama, Horror

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Tim Burton

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Sleepy Hollow Audience Reviews

Moustroll Good movie but grossly overrated
Tobias Burrows It's easily one of the freshest, sharpest and most enjoyable films of this year.
Rosie Searle It's the kind of movie you'll want to see a second time with someone who hasn't seen it yet, to remember what it was like to watch it for the first time.
Dana An old-fashioned movie made with new-fashioned finesse.
vincentprice-97234 What works in this sleepy hollow adaptation by Tim Burton? The haunting atmosphere and the fantastic production design. I feel like I was transported to Sleepy Hollow of the past centuries. Johnny Depp as the milquetoast constable Ichabod Crane is more than competent and frankly I could not have envisioned anyone in this role. Supporting cast are Christina Ricci and Casper Van Dien and of course Christopher Walken as the scary headless horseman. The pacing is excellent although I feel this is a niche film and you need to watch it with a certain mindset.
MaximumMadness Inspired by the Hammer films of old and hyper-stylish storytellers including Mario Bava, Tim Burton's 1999 release "Sleepy Hollow" is a successful and enthralling reinterpretation of Washington Irving's classic short-story that blends Gothic horror and slapstick comedy to an expert degree. From a script by makeup effects maestro Kevin Yagher and the delightfully twisted Andrew Kevin Walker, Burton's film aims high at bringing a tale everyone knows into the modern world of filmmaking, and it's an absolute blast from start to finish. With nonstop action and intrigue, moody and awe-inspiring atmospheric direction and a charming cast of characters who supply plenty of belly- laughs from start-to-finish, "Sleepy Hollow" is a wonderful film that continues to win over audiences to this very day, nearly twenty years after its initial release.Burton regular Johnny Depp stars as Ichabod Crane, a New York City police constable whose "modern" methods of scientific reasoning and deduction don't sit well with his by-the-books, old-school superiors. Ultimately tasked to prove that his cutting-edge ideas work, Crane is dispatched to the small village of Sleepy Hollow to investigate a troubling series of murders- a number of the town's residents have been slain, their heads removed from their bodies. Upon arrival, Crane is informed by the spooked and superstitious townsfolk that there is already a suspect- a devilish, spectral figured called the "Headless Horseman", whom has returned from Hell to claim more victims. Ichabod soon enough learns that despite his initial hesitance, the townsfolk are correct and he is dealing with a supernatural threat from beyond the grave. And thus, he must piece together the mystery of why this demented ghost of the past has only now returned to the world of the living...In many ways, you could call "Sleepy Hollow" the perfect Tim Burton vehicle, and it reflects and relishes in the mastermind filmmaker's various likes and eccentricities in virtually every moment. Burton has always been a beloved and yet somewhat polarizing figure in the world of film, as he has a distinct and definite style and methodology that either speaks too audiences or leaves them feeling somewhat alienated. His leaning on moody, dark and mind-warping Gothic visuals and sharp design, in addition to strong archetypal characters are a major strength in his many films, and give his movies a feeling all their own. And I think its a perfect fit for this particular story. His "Sleepy Hollow" is a world that seems to exist all on its own, and it helps to ground the film in its own sort-of delightful, fairy-tale eseque atmosphere. I also very much appreciated the visual contrast he injects into many scenes, which gives the film a dream like (or even nightmarish) quality. And yet, he's clever enough to know never to go too far into the world of the strange and devious, and makes sure to punctuate almost every scene with a sharp visual gag or character-centric joke to lighten the mood.The cast of remarkable performers Burton has assembled also do great justice to the material and help to drive the film forward. Depp, a friend and regular collaborator with Burton, is just fantastic in his role as the brilliant but sometimes cowardly and bumbling constable Crane. He is clearly having a complete and utter blast, and the feeling is contagious. His take on Crane is endlessly likable and endearing, even though he's far from being a perfect man. Christina Ricci is also a great deal of fun, portraying young Katrina Van Tassel, whom joins in with Ichabod in his investigation. While her role can feel somewhat underwritten and she's more-or-less there to provide a romantic interest, she does a very good job and adds much to the proceedings by being the "heart" of the film. A small army of veteran character actors round out the townsfolk quite well, including Michael Gambon and Miranda Richardson as the elder Van Tassel's, Richard Griffiths as a troubled Magistrate and Ian McDiarmid as the town's local doctor. They add a sense of class and realism to the proceedings that came very much appreciated. We even get a small but memorable turn from the brilliant Michael Gough as the town notary, which was a fun callback to his role in Burton's prior work on the "Batman" franchise. And then there's Christopher Walken, whom plays the role of the Headless Horseman in a key flashback scene early on. I won't spoil it, but fans of the actor are going to love seeing him here.I would also like to take a moment to discuss the continued collaboration between Burton and his longtime composer, Danny Elfman. While Elfman is now mostly recognized for his work on big, bombastic superhero-movie scores, a lot of his earlier compositions with Burton go under-appreciated, and I do think that "Sleepy Hollow" is among his most underrated work. The score for the film is just outstanding, and compliments every scene and moment fabulously. It's so deliciously moody and eerie, with a great, Gothic theme for the town and sinister background vocals in key sequences. It's just a phenomenal piece of work, and it's a shame the score doesn't get more love. It's perfect Halloween-time music.In the end, Tim Burton's "Sleepy Hollow" continues to excel and entertain, delivering a spooky but very fun ride that could be appreciated by all ages, were it not for the large volume of gore that probably makes it a bit too harsh for younger children. The characters are endearing. The mystery genuinely interesting. And the keen mixture of horror and comedy handled exceptionally. It's another masterpiece from its talented and beloved director, and it's one of my favorite go-to's for the Halloween season. Sure, there are some minor squabbles I have with the film, and they do hold it just shy of perfection for me... but the fact remains- this is a great, fun film. And I give it a fantastic 9 out of 10.
calvinnme Director Tim Burton's elaborate take on Washington Irving's tale of Ichabod Crane and the Headless Horseman doesn't have much in common with Irving but excels as a Gothic exercise in atmosphere and dark humor.This rich visual feast demands a viewer's attention with its stunning photography and art direction, with countless memorably framed shots of 18th Century New York, with its foggy woods and small town cobblestone streets. Lurking about, too, of course, is the legendary Headless Horseman who seems to be collecting an increasingly large number of heads of his hapless victims.This brings about the arrival of Crane, transformed by Burton from Disney's spindly school teacher of animation fame into an analytical would be Sherlock Holmes type detective. Only this detective is decidedly squeamish about blood (not to mention spiders) and, on at least one bloody occasion, will pass out. The role is an ideal showcase for Johnny Depp, whose Crane is both darkly handsome and a bit prissy. Depp is truly endearing in his part, an engagingly idiosyncratic individual who will eventually turn reluctant hero.None of the rest of the cast, while capable, make much of an impression next to Depp. A few old timers occupy that cast, however, including Christopher Lee, Michael Gough and Martin Landau. However, Christopher Walken also appears, chillingly, in a significant role.It's a shame, of course, that Burton's skills with narrative story telling are not nearly as effective as his flair for visual dramatics (as unquestionably impressive as the latter are here) and, as far as the story itself is concerned, the film is confused and falls a bit flat. Nor are the horror elements of the story all that horrifying, though this is a film in which the decapitations by the Horseman will keep the heads a rolling. Burton largely treats these moments of bloodshed and "terror" as darkly humorous more than anything else.More than any of the special effects involving the Headless Horseman, what stays with me are Depp's performance and, particularly, the Gothic elegance of this production. That alone makes Sleepy Hollow well with the investment of a viewer's time.
Leofwine_draca Tim Burton's latest film takes the classic short story "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" by Washington Irving and gives it a makeover for the modern audience. He also manages to include much of the eccentricity seen in his work, in everything from the fairytale story of EDWARD SCISSORHANDS to his recent cartoon violence in MARS ATTACKS!. While Burton succeeds admirably in creating a brilliant visual portrayal of a Gothic landscape, much touted as a return to the ways of Hammer, the script lets him down as plausibility and story are thrown out of the window in favour of outlandish action sequences, all of which bear more resemblance to LETHAL WEAPON 4 (carriage and horse chases substituted for car chases) than our favourite horror movies of the past.The film also remains unnecessarily light-hearted and even comic in places, as if to reassure us that Burton may be the master of weirdness, but he's still a little boy with a sense of humour at heart. Unfortunately for us, this mars the film dreadfully, as the horrors of the situation simply cannot be taken seriously when Depp is constantly fainting and minor characters are engaging in skirmishes with the supposedly indestructible ghost. Yes, it does turn (just like at the finale of END OF DAYS) into TERMINATOR 2 again, with the headless horseman substituted for the liquid metal man, i.e. an unstoppable killer who cannot be destroyed by any physical means.At least the sets are marvellous, and the film furnished with dark, rich colours which really set it apart and makes it look like a painting. The woods are wonderfully spooky, with plenty of dry ice floating about, the houses themselves distorted and grotesque. In another nod to Burton's favourite horror movies, plenty of discussion takes place in open graveyards, full of leaning headstones and recently-dug graves. A lot of work has gone into costumes, making them colourful and pretty, yet realistic, while Crane's odd set of medical instruments brings to mind the twisted gynaecological creations of the brothers in Cronenberg's DEAD RINGERS.As SLEEPY HOLLOW was filmed in Britain, the cast itself is mainly composed of British actors and actresses, with only three people I can think of off the top of my head American. For the genre fan, the cast is wonderful. Christopher Lee sets things off with a cameo appearance at the beginning, with his booming voice put to good use in a court. It's nice to see that Lee is authoritative and powerful as ever, the years haven't blunted his acting skills, just a shame that he's been caught up in mediocre rubbish for the past two decades. At his side is Alun Armstrong, who made it big in BRAVEHEART and whose distinctive features are familiar to any television/film watcher this side of the Atlantic. Michael Gough, star of countless exploitation cheapies like HORROR HOSPITAL and many more, appears in a scene-stealing role as a harmless old man who solemnly warns of death and destruction for our hero ("their heads... taken by the headless horseman!"). Other familiar faces such as Michael Gambon, Richard Griffiths, and Miranda Richardson flesh out the cast, as well as Ian McDiarmid, more familiar to sci-fi audiences for his role as Emperor Palpatine in RETURN OF THE JEDI. The only out of place actor is Casper Van Dien, who would be more at home shooting or fighting people I feel, his sword fight with the ghost really ruining the impact of the film for me and equating it to some silly adventure flick like THE MASK OF ZORRO.Johnny Depp is a good actor but his character in this film is an irritating, wimpish one who we just wish would stop fainting and playing the fool all the time. Perhaps this is supposed to be funny, but I didn't think so. Christina Ricci is well suited to this film, as her fragile beauty is made all the more noticeable by something distinctly weird in her features - the ideal actress for Tim Burton. And it would be unfair to miss out Christopher Walken, who looks like a vampire from SALEM'S LOT and chews the scenery with relish.Unfortunately, once again, somebody somewhere decided that we needed some poor computer animation for our shocks, so a witch does a ridiculous gurn just like the title creature in THE MUMMY, which really detracts from the spirit of the thing. If Burton wanted to stay traditional, why did he include this stupid scene of someone's eyes bursting out of their head like Jim Carrey in THE MASK? CGI is used well at the end for the horseman's face growing back on to his skull, but frankly I'd rather stick with the prosthetics of HELLRAISER instead. At least we can be grateful that Burton doesn't skimp on the beheadings, so there is plenty of splashed, bright red blood and flying bonces at regular intervals. Don't start thinking this film is a gore fest though, because although gore is used, it's done sparingly and not graphic as some people seem to think.Did SLEEPY HOLLOW send me to sleep? No, not really, because I was too caught up in the visuals to notice the generic action scenes and silly plot twists. By the time a conspiracy had been exposed I was simply tired of the whole thing and wished that they would go back to the old days where the monster was simply there, and there was no reason for it, it just was. The need for minute explanations is a really trying one and it threatens to bring the whole film down in this case. Thankfully it doesn't, though, and SLEEPY HOLLOW is a feast for the eyes with enough references to Bava's BLACK Sunday and plenty of other Gothic horror flicks to keep the fan entertained. It's just a shame that Andrew Kevin Walker (writer of SEVEN) couldn't come up with something a little more mature and a little less stupid.