Sleepy Hollow

June 14, 2009 - Tim Burton bloodies up Washington Irving's classic tale of the headless horseman in this interpretation from 1999. Johnny Depp plays the intrepid Ichabod Crane. Christina Ricci, Michael Gambon, Miranda Richardson and Christopher Walken round out the cast. Burton favorite Martin Landau makes a brief appearance.

The story is set in 1799. Depp's Ichabod is a policeman in New York City who believes in the power of forensics and reasoning to solve crimes. For his newfangled beliefs, he gets sent to creepy little Sleepy Hollow, where a headless horseman is running amok, cutting off the heads of the townfolk.

Ichabod is sent to investigate the murders of three people. But, once he arrives, the headless horseman picks up the pace. By the end of the film, some (pause while I count) 17 people have been killed directly or indirectly as a result of the horseman's rampage. Of the Van Garretts and the Van Tassels, Sleepy Hollow's most prominent families, Christina Ricci is the only one to survive the slaughter.

Overall review: *** Even for director Tim Burton, who never lets a little blood get in the way of a good story, 17 bodies is a lot. There's even more blood as Ichabod emerges from an autopsy. The red blood stands in stark contrast to a set that is generally washed out and devoid of color. Add the usual terrific score from Danny Elfman, and Burton delivers a film that is interesting to hear and to see.