Sleepy Hollow (1999)

I’d not seen this in a few years; therefore I sat down recently re-watched it; reminding myself why I enjoy Tim Burton films as much as I do. This is a film which, while revisiting it again after so many years, has gained something with age… or maybe it’s just that I appreciate certain things all these years later that I may not have thought of at the time of first viewing it.

Along with Tim Burton’s gothic style, this has his usual outsider quality, not only Ichabod Crane (Johnny Depp) being an outsider, but there also seems to be a similar situation with Katrina Van Tassel (Christine Ricci) for her own reasons. We do have multiple characters here, who all fit into this story perfectly, all who fear what they can’t control what is happening in Sleepy Hollow, as people die horribly by having their heads removed from the rest of their bodies. A superstition of the times in which this was set (1799), creates a feeling which pulls us in, in such a way that we fully immersed into the world of characters trying to come to terms with where they find themselves.

There is a Hammer Horror feel to this film which for me is a welcome atmosphere, something which I get the feeling Time Burton was aiming for with a grand tone of not taking itself too seriously. Plus the manner which Time Burton and Johnny Depp seem to create when working together is something which I have always liked. There is a sense of humour which is… quirky; done perfectly and makes us smile and laugh, and has a charm that feels natural and unpretentious.

The story of the mystery of who Hessian Horseman (Christopher Walken) and why he is in Sleepy Hollow is a joy to watch. As we watch the characters behave in the ways they do, as we try to figure out why they react as they do, all of which is located in a small village where everybody knows everybody else and their business. Not all is as it seems or should be and there are those we suspect of being more than meets the eye in this small community.

This is an enjoyable film of trying to see where all the pieces fit. Tim Burton offering us a film that does not over do it with the blood or gore, in a story which you may expect to be far more gruesome than it is.

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