Sleepy Hollow


SF elements



It is 1799, and Constable Ichabod Crane [Johnny Depp] is convinced scientific means can help in the detection of crimes. His exasperated superiors send him off to Sleepy Hollow, to investigate three murders. The locals claim that the Headless Horseman decapitated the victims, but Crane sets out to find a human killer.

[Ricci and Depp]

Not being a fan of very early detective stories, I didn't know the book's plot beforehand (and would still not claim to do so, based on a mere film). So I didn't know whether this is a Scully "I'm a rational scientist but it's another supernatural event" or a Scooby-Doo "I'd have gotten away with it if it wasn't for your pesky scientific detection" sort of story. Unfortunately, it's the first -- all Crane's scientific gear is irrelevant except as a way of giving Tim Burton the opportunity to throw in some grotesque instruments (in addition to the numerous graphic beheadings).

Christina Ricci is a big disappointment -- for some bizarre reason she has decided to copy the acting style of the ubiquitous forest trees -- but Miranda Richardson has fun as the stepmother, and a host of familiar faces appear as the terrified townsmen. Depp himself oscillates wildly between arrogant detective and terrified victim (constantly hiding behind the children and women), and seems to accept the supernatural explanation with even less quibbling than Scully.

Rating: 4

[ unmissable | great stuff | worth watching | mind candy | waste of time | unfinishable ]

reviewed 22 December 2002