Directed by Tim Burton
Written by Andrew Kevin Walker and Kevin Yagher
by Danny Elfman
Loosely based on the story by Irving Washington
A New York Constable played by Johnny Depp believes that the law is barbaric
and brutal using primitive methods of torture and attempts to add new
techniques of investigating crime in a humane and intelligent way. A New
York Judge tired of hearing Crane's constant fervent ideas and arguments
sends him to the little, once peaceful, town of Sleepy Hollow, where a
number of residents have been found murdered and decapitated with no trace
of their heads to be found.
Crane enters the shadowy and mysterious town of Sleepy Hollow and is
told the tale of the headless horseman, a spirit of a Hessian mercenary
who fought in wars for the love of carnage. Rising from the grave to gallop
through the village cutting off the heads of his victims.
Crane is a man who believes in facts and evidence not the unusual or
strange and he ignores the supernatural tale promising to find the man
"of flesh and blood" who is responsible for the killings.
the course of his visit he meets Katrina Van Tassel played expertly by
Christina Ricci and the two fall in love. He also encounters the headless
horseman himself and eventually resigns himself to believe in this strange
There is a tragic dream sequence in which Crane dreams of his mother,
an innocent who practised good magic, and her horrific death at the hands
of his cruel father. The scenes in this sequence are reminiscent of the
early hammer horror movies starring the great Vincent Price and Christopher
Lee who plays the Judge at the beginning of the film.
headless horseman, played superbly by Christopher Walken, has been doomed
to rise from his grave and kill forever at the bidding of the Lady Van
Tassel who as a child sold her soul to the devil so that she could act
out her vengeance on the inhabitants of Sleepy Hollow, who spurned her
family, driving them out into the woods.
Sleepy Hollow is a dark, evocative fairytale, the ethereal beauty of
the Sleepy Hollow sets and cinematography through out the movie are superb
- sinister forests, lights that are blown out by mysterious forces, and
the twisted tree of the dead.
It is also a very funny movie with Johnny Depp playing Crane in a very
innocent girl like manner whilst fighting the headless, bloodthirsty horseman.
Johnny Depp and Christina Ricci both give remarkable performances. Christopher
Walken is a formidable presence in his role as the headless horseman giving
great justice to the legend.
The music by Danny Elfman flows in sequence to the narrative with tantalizing
perfection, it is a film flourishing with atmosphere seen very rarely
in Cinema. The film delivers its ghostly tale with enticing splendour
- it is a gothic triumph.