Sleepy Hollow – USA, 1999 – reviews

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‘Heads will roll’

Sleepy Hollow is a 1999 American horror film directed by Tim Burton. It is a film adaptation loosely inspired by the 1820 short story “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” by Washington Irving and stars Johnny Depp and Christina Ricci, with Miranda Richardson, Michael Gambon, Casper Van Dien, and Jeffrey Jones in supporting roles.

Veteran actors Christopher Lee, Michael Gough (Horror Hospital; The CorpseKonga; et al) and Martin Landau (Alone in the Dark) also appear.

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At the beginning of the 19th Century, New York pathologist Ichabod Crane (Johnny Depp) is sent to the remote town of Sleepy Hollow to investigate the gruesome deaths of a number of the community’s figureheads.

Despite his attempts to find a rational explanation for the decapitated bodies that continue to turn up with alarming regularity, Crane comes to the conclusion that the killings are the work of an axe-wielding headless horseman…

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Development began in 1993 at Paramount Pictures with Kevin Yagher originally set to direct Andrew Kevin Walker’s script as a low-budget slasher film. Disagreements with Paramount resulted in Yagher being demoted to prosthetic makeup designer, and Burton was hired to direct in June 1998.

Filming took place from November 1998 to May 1999, and Sleepy Hollow was released to generally favorable reviews from critics, and grossed approximately $207 million worldwide. Production designer Rick Heinrichs and set decorator Peter Young won the Academy Award for Best Art Direction.

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Reviews [click links to read more]:

“This feels like a good film but not a great Tim Burton film. The supernatural thriller plot seems a little too calculated and never one that holds you pinned with unfolding surprises. While the film is very well directed, there is never any scene that stands out in the way that the Day-O rendition in Beetlejuice, the haircut scene in or almost anything in the Batman films did.” Richard Scheib, Moria

“The film suffers from tepid performances, feebly drawn characters, and a meandering narrative. Regardless of how many eerie, fog-shrouded forest sequences, gruesome decapitations, and gorgeous matte paintings Burton offers us, Sleepy Hollow‘s look cannot obfuscate its numerous, glaring weaknesses.” James Berardinelli, Reelviews

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