Thursday, October 16, 2014
The MONTH of HORROR - Day 16: Sleepy Hollow
Tim Burton once again re-teams with Johnny Depp for this gothic chiller based partially on truth, although beyond there actually once being a New York inspector named Ichabod Crane, the rest is pretty much fiction.
Crane is summoned by a small upstate hamlet to investigate a series of gruesome killings of local townsfolk, believed to be the workings of the fabled Headless Horseman. Surely, an undead spirit couldn't be causing the deaths of these people, and it must be a man of "flesh and blood", Ichabod proclaims. No ghouls or ghosts could be responsible for any of this, it is a living man, and he will be caught. For a man of such stern conviction, he has quite a weak stomach, and finds himself fainting several times throughout. A running gag for sure, and one that elicits a chuckle every time as Depp does a terrific job of selling this brilliant, yet frightened mouse of a character.
It's nearly impossible to not be swept up in the gorgeous visuals, and haunting atmosphere, something that Tim Burton is known for, and the work of DP Emmanuel Lubezki is beautiful. One reason why I think this movie really works, amid the brutal decapitations, is that Burton is able to settle on just the right tone, and rides it without breaking stride to the end. It's something I feel that he's always managed to excel at throughout his career, that no matter how silly, or strange, or creepy the subject matter may be, time and time again he knows how to settle on the perfect tone for the story he's telling, and never breaks from it. You may not think it but that is a gift that only very few filmmakers possess, and it should not go unnoticed.
If you're looking for something to watch that will get you in the mood for Halloween, I'd put this on a shortlist of films you should check out. 'Sleepy Hollow' does a superb job of evoking some of our favourite spooky imagery such as jack o' lanterns, black cats, cackling witches, and fog with a mind of its own, thick as pea soup. Even though it is violent at times, it never feels gratuitous, and is not presented in an upsetting way so don't be afraid to pop this one in, and have a great time!