Saturday, October 26, 2013

13 Days of Halloween: Review of Sleepy Hollow (1999)

The year is 1799. An upstart young police inspector named Ichabod Crane (Johnny Depp) is sent to the rural village of Sleepy Hollow, NY to investigate a series of strange beheadings, unaware that the undead, headless Hessian mercenary (Christopher Walken) responsible is just the tip of the blood-soaked iceberg.

There are some movies we can’t help but like in spite of ourselves. For me, Sleepy Hollow is among them. Yes, some of the acting is wooden. Yes, it was unnecessary to give both Ichabod and the Horseman elaborate backstories. And yes, the ending is completely ridiculous. And not everyone is going to like the reworking of Washington Irving’s classic ghost yarn into a grisly supernatural whodunnit, but what cannot be denied is that this film is drenched in Halloween atmosphere. From the opening chase through a cornfield (completely with an awesome scarecrow that many a haunter has tried to replicate), to the village of Sleepy Hollow itself, to the foreboding, fog-filled Western Woods, Sleepy Hollow captures the feel of a chilly October night perfectly. Not to mention, the soundtrack is perfect. I have the main titles on my MP3 player, and often listen to it when I’m out for a walk on a crisp fall evening. And then of course, there is the Horseman. Whereas previous adaptions had to resort to the old trick of a cape thrown over an actor’s shoulders, this version had the advantage of computers, and so the Horseman actually looks headless. Not to mention, the costume designers outdid themselves on the Horseman’s rotting uniform. An awesome character design.

In short, I’d say that if you’re looking some movies to put you in the Halloween frame of mind, you could do a lot worse than Sleepy Hollow.

HalloweeNut’s Verdict:
2 out of 4 Skulls

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