Sleepy Hollow (1999)

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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 Tim 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 Burton’s ideas work and is a kind of Gothic fantasy homage to Hammer 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 me at least, Sleepy Hollow is the pick of Burton’s projects.

8.5/10

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