Subgenre: Ghost / Mystery
Summary: Constable Ichabod Crane is tasked with investigating a series of decapitations in upstate New York.
Review: Sleepy Hollow is one of those movies I’ve always felt like I’ve seen, despite the fact that I’ve never actually watched it (until now). Tim Burton, Johnny Depp, gothic setting – how far off could my expectations be? Not very, as it turns out, but it’s an enjoyable movie nonetheless.
Ichabod Crane (Johnny Depp) is a police constable whose headstrong commitment to deductive reasoning clashes with the careless brutality of his era’s justice system. As punishment for his meddlesome ways, his department heads send him to the upstate burg of Sleepy Hollow, whose residents are in over their heads with a spate of grisly murders. The locals suspect none other than the Headless Horseman, a town legend born from a vicious mercenary in the war years earlier.
From then on the movie becomes part whodunit, part period slasher as Crane tries to stay ahead of the murderer before he takes more lives. The well-paced screenplay keeps things relatively unpredictable as it heads toward its inevitable final reveal, which is satisfying if not mind-blowing. Depp is fun to watch as the intelligent but squeamish Crane, but the movie’s strongest suit by far is its heady atmosphere. Burton drenches Sleepy Hollow in a perpetual cover of grey fog and dark clouds, creating a heightened yet evocative sense of autumnal eeriness. Sure, he can do this stuff in his sleep, but it still looks great.
The Verdict: It won’t turn any heads, but Sleepy Hollow is worth a watch for its atmosphere and old-fashioned intrigue. I give it seven Headless Hessian Horsemen out of ten.