Movie of the Day – Sleepy Hollow

So apparently while watching the KC Chiefs, CHIEFS, play on Sunday against Dallas, there were a shit ton of promos for a new Fox show entitled Sleepy Hollow.  Yes folks it’s true, Fox decided that a gritty crime show will now incorporate the story of Sleepy Hollow complete with axe wielding, headless horseman and Ichabod Crane, because nothing says long lasting series than a continuous cat and mouse game of the cops searching for a headless killer.  How long do they honestly think they will get out of this premise.  We already know the killer of the show.  We already can tell that his victims won’t have a head when he is finished.  We already can tell this will be a fish out of water story where Ichabod will have to learn to deal with modern technology and form a sexy partnership with his handler.  So what’s left here to explore?  I just seriously laid out the entire premise of the show in three sentences without having to expend a lot of brain cells to come to this conclusion.  Get ready for my new show about a group of fishermen who are wondering why there is a shortage of fish out in their fishing grounds until they stumble upon a man drifting at sea named Ahab who knows the real reason for their fish loss.  MOBY DICK.

Anyways, I decided now would be a good time as any to talk about one of few Tim Burton movies that doesn’t get on my nerves.  Also it’s a movie where Johnny Depp isn’t doing his usual weird, accessory wearing roles.

Sleepy Hollow 1a

Washington Irving’s tale of Ichabod Crane and the Headless Horseman gets a few new twists in a screen adaptation directed by Tim Burton. In this version, Ichabod (Johnny Depp) is a New York City detective whose unorthodox techniques and penchant for gadgets make him unpopular with is colleagues. He is sent to the remote town of Sleepy Hollow to investigate a series of bizarre murders, in which a number of people have been found dead in the woods, with their heads cut off. Local legend has it that a Hessian ghost rides through the woods on horseback, lopping off the heads of the unsuspecting and unbelieving. Ichabod refuses to believe in this legend, convinced that there must be a logical explanation for the murders. In time, Ichabod becomes smitten with a local lass, Katrina Van Tassel (Christina Ricci), who is the sweetheart of the burly Brom Bones (Casper Van Dien), and he becomes determined to capture the murderer to prove his bravery and win her heart. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

While this isn’t his best work, the story of Sleepy Hollow certainly does lend itself to Burton’s artistic leanings, mainly that this is goth as fuck.  Twisted trees, creeky looking architecture, and about as many frilly looking outfits that one could want!  It’s a veritable platter of Burton wants and needs all in one movie.  Sadly the end results it all about the aesthetic rather than the pacing or cohesive story telling, but it certainly is a wonderful looking movie.  I will always give Burton credit on set design and how the movie looks, it creates a secondary character that adds so much elemental externalities that I like being involved with the setting.  Sleepy Hollow certainly adds another layer for the audience with the gothic style that suits his abilities as a director.

Sleepy Hollow 1b

Enough about the set design, which is still the best thing about this movie, but now the actors.  Aside from Depp who plays a rather brilliant detective in the form of Ichabod Crane, this is just filled with amazing character actors.  Michael Gambon, Jeffery Jones, Richard Griffiths and Ian McDiarmid all eerily seem to fit within the time frame of the film, each bringing all adding just that little bit scene chewing goodness as the towns people of Sleepy Hollow who get killed off.  Not all of them mind you, but most.  Christina Ricci is wonderful as the lead love interest and just gorgeous in this movie.  Perhaps it’s my enjoyment of her since Addams Family, but her role as Katrina Van Tassel is wonderful to watch on screen, playing the damsel and a source of intrigue amongst the people in Sleepy Hollow.  Depp turns in performance that is a bit more nuanced and not so damn frilly and flighty.  Crane is both a great detective with insight, but he has that sort of bumbling affability that makes his confrontation with the headless horseman all the more enjoyable.  Depp can do more tepid characters and this proves it.  Burton knows how to use him correctly, instead of his latest yawn inducing repeats.

I can’t forget about the headless horseman himself, played by Mr. Christopher Walken.  If I could get just him in his full form riding around the forest and lobbing the heads off of helpless people would be just perfect.  Sure, the headless version is not really him, but still, I said I wanted the full form so yeah.  Overall the movie suffers from a few pacing issues and also from a loose story that does feel as tight as it should be.  I think Burton gets a bit lost in the overall aesthetics of the movie and the tone feels more fun-house horrors than an actual frightening movie.  Burton doesn’t shy away from the kills of the movie with people being decapitated and impaled with countless things, it does have a little bit to the horror but not enough to instill fear, just a sense of “oh that’s cool” and then not much else.

I advise you not to watch the Fox show cause it really does seem shitty.

About Nick
I am just another blogger putting his thoughts into a website. My love is movies so most of my musings will be movie related. I work as an online marketer for an advertising company and when I am not earning a paycheck, I moonlight as a vigilante film blogger.

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