It’s a review of the gothic film based on Washingon Irving’s classic murder mystery, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow set in 1799, made in 1999, by the director Tim Burton. Filmed in the Paramount studios, of course, it has to have the amazing cast of Johnny Depp (Ichabod Cran) Miranda Richardson, Christina Ricci (Katrina Van Tassel) and Christopher Walkman (the headless horse man) which should make it a thrilling film to see. You’d expect to be taken back to 1799 and show you a small village with something spooky going on but instead you get a lot of tomato ketchup everywhere but mostly over Ichabod (Depp).
Sleepy Hollow is about Ichabod Cran (Depp) who lives in New York and is sent to the rural village of Sleepy Hollow to solve the mystery of bodies found with their heads lopped off and not found. The villagers think that a headless horse man is the killer and the keeper of the heads. Cran is not into religion and has turned to science. His sinister looking instruments he has invented to extract the truth from the dead bodies. Which he believes will always be there.
Cran is a man who will look at things first before starting to poke and prod as he may find the truth, as he does not believe the villagers and is determined to find the real murderer as he believes there is no such thing as a headless horse man. In the movie, the theme explored is Gothic horror by the fact that there is a lot of decapitation. All the murdered bodies have lost their heads and they are no where to be found. Among all the dead there is a lot of tomato ketchup being spread. The film seems to have a lot of sheep and why have sheep in a film? Because you need something to runaway!
The sheep are only there when there is something bad about to happen and it is meant to be scary, so the sheep are there to run away from what ever is scary at that time, sheep run away from every thing. Many old Gothic horror films seem to have burning mills and of course sleepy hollow did not want to miss out so it added to the 7 other films with burning mills incorporated. With everything I have said most of the film is based on Gothic horror. I believe that the film would be a lot better if it incorporated other themes so it would be a film for many different people.
We mustn’t forget it couldn’t be a gothic film without an innocent pretty blonde girl who always seems to be around; Katrina Van Tassed (Ricci) tags along where ever Ichabod (Depp) has to go and seems to need help more than she helps. The location in which the film is set is very appropriate. It is a spooky area it is old and makes you feel wary as you expect something to go wrong round every corner. The way everyone acts in the film helps you get the feeling as they all are very careful about what they do.
The acting and the behaviour of the actors in the film is considerably better compared to the script they are working from. The costumes fit in with the period of time and Ichabod (Depp) seems slightly more modern as he comes from the city. You can tell the difference in the way he acts in the film as he is meant to come from New York and you can tell that from the way he walks and acts around the other villagers. The costumes and the actor make the villagers look very old fashioned and shifty. You can easily tell the pilgrims from the wealthy or upper class people by the acting and costumes.
The audience can see that the villagers are scared about what is going to happen to them with all the killing happening. The music and sound effects in the film don’t seem too much. It doesn’t take control they just help to increase tension and make you feel what the characters are feeling. Ichabod (Depp) is very amusing as he bumbling, he has to see all the dead bodies which are missing heads and he is very squeamish. This is just plain ridiculous. He is very good at his job but he cannot complete something without messing it up in one way or another.
The headless horse man (Walkman) is shown before he is dead at the beginning; he is very pale and has his two front teeth filed to points which make him look very freaky and spooky. He loved his horse but had to leave him because he was going to be caught and killed. Both Depp and Walkman are very good actors in the film. The scene that sticks in my mind clearly is the first one. It shows you what the film is about without giving too much away. It shows you what happened in the past, so you understand the film. They have made it so you feel you have travelled back in time, as it is very white and bright.
This is a great way to show how things happened. Walkman is running away from people, he is running through the woods when he meets two young girls. One runs off in to the woods, the other stands with a stick in her hand, snaps it, the people look for Walkman can find him from the sound. It is a very effective way of showing the past, also making people think and want to watch the rest of the film. I really liked the way they did this. I think the effect of the film is brilliant at the beginning and not so great at the end. It isn’t an excellent film by all means, in fact it seems to never end.
There is too much killing and no getting to the point of the film. All that it seems to be happening is Ichabod (Depp) walks through the woods, leaves and twigs cracking under his poorly ridden horse and finding heads disappearing from everyone’s bodies. Tim Burton’s wonderfully stylized horror story abandons all its intelligence half way through. It seems such a great film to start with, how it seems to cover all aspects that could happen then it all seems to go and become another terrible film that’s forgotten what the story it’s meant to be telling.