Directed by Tim Burton
Running Time: 1:45
Rated Rfor graphic horror violence and gore, and for a scene of sexuality.

I'm starting to think that Tim Burton may be my favorite director. I'm also starting to think he may have been dropped on his head as a child. His artistic vision is both amazing and frightening, and that is certainly the high point of Sleepy Hollow. This movie has a great look to it, and at the same time had a good murder mystery story line to go along with very haunting and beautiful sets.

Johnny Depp plays Ichabod Crane, a police detective from New York City. His detective skills are not the kind liked by the courts in New York, so they send him up to a little town called Sleepy Hollow to investigate the murders of three townspeople. When Ichabod gets to Sleepy Hollow, he is told a story about a renegade Hessian soldier with sharp teeth and a penchant for beheading people. This soldier is himself killed and beheaded and buried. But now he has returned from the grave to find his skull which has been taken from his grave. And until he finds his head, he will take off the heads of the townspeople. Ichabod doesn't believe in this headless horseman until he sees him for himself. Ichabod realizes someone is controlling the horseman, but needs to figure out who it is, before his beloved Katrina (Christina Ricci) becomes the next victim of, the headless horseman.

I absolutely love all of Tim Burton's films. Sometimes the story doesn't do much for me (like in Mars Attacks!) but the look of his film is always amazing. From Batman to Ed Wood to this movie, his vision of a haunting brooding world is incredible. I don't know how else to describe it. It's very gothic in its style and his movies always have that kind of feel to it. He believes in building sets to create his vision, rather than trying to change existing locations, which makes his films seem even darker than normal. He has the ultimate control in how to create and light his sets, something that is tempered by shooting on location. And the stories that he chooses to tell seem to follow in suit with his gothic vision. It's no coincidence that most people feel the original Batman was the best in the series. Michael Keaton may have played a part, but it was the artistic vision of Burton that made it possible. And this movie feels the same way. Very dark and mysterious, with a mysterious story to go with it. I don't remember the exact story of the headless horseman I heard as a child, but I would imagine it wasn't exactly like the one Burton put on the screen. This movie is a true horror film in that you have a killer who kills in a brutal manner and the star of the film needs to figure out who it is before his loved one dies. That doesn't sound like much of a children's story to me.

I thought the acting in the film was overall pretty good. I always love Johnny Depp as an actor. He always seems to take roles that are out of the mainstream (although that may be because when he does take a mainstream role the film flops, ie. Nick of Time). His Ichabod Crane follows in the footsteps of Ed Wood and Edward Scissorhands (so I suppose he could have been named Edward Crane). Christina Ricci was good as Katrina. Her role wasn't that large but as a supporting character she was fine. The townspeople, especially the town leaders (including Michael Gambon as Baltus Van Tassel, Ian McDiarmid as Doc Lancaster and Jeffrey Jones as Steenwyck) were also very good. I think the thing I liked most about this film (besides its look) was the pace and the violence of the film. Something was always happening or about to happen, and Burton never stayed away from the brutality of the beheadings. I have never seen so many people get their heads chopped off before, and I got chills everytime I heard the sound of the horseman's sword.

Overall I found Sleepy Hollow to be a very entertaining movie. It had action, it had drama, it had horror, and it had romance. The look of the film was absolutely incredible and was by far the best part of the movie. The story was strong, as it kept you wondering until the very end who controlled the headless horseman, and having Christopher Walken play the horseman was an added treat. Definitely one to go see.

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