Every day for the month of October, Coming Soon is making a new horror movie recommendation for those eager to find a new frightening flick for Halloween. From the creepy goodness of a classy ghost story to a blood-spattered gorefest and everything in between, we’ll have something for every taste of horror. And today’s pick is…
What’s Sleepy Hollow about: After a series of grisly murders, the quiet town of Sleepy Hollow enlists the aid of New York Constable Ichabod Crane (Johnny Depp) to seek out the killer. A man of science who also fears the supernatural, Ichabod quickly discovers that a demon known as the Headless Horseman (Christopher Walken) has risen from the grave to lop the heads off the local town’s folk. As Ichabod digs deeper into the stories surrounding the horseman, and grows closer to the beautiful Katrina (Christina Ricci), he begins to unravel a more sinister situation than he could have ever imagined. Directed by Tim Burton.
Why Sleepy Hollow rules: Sleepy Hollow might well be the last truly great Tim Burton film; an odd relic of the late 90s that somehow, despite its obvious flaws, manages to dazzle twenty years later. Much of the film’s strengths lie in its Hammer Films-inspired look and tone, which mesh well with Burton’s typical visual panache — wait til you get a look at the Tree of the Dead, a twisted nightmare splattered in bright red blood — but it’s Johnny Depp’s playful performance as Ichabod Crane and that bonkers Christopher Walken cameo that lend Sleepy Hollow minor classic considerations.
Sure, the script by Andrew Kevin Walker hits a few bumps with a third act reveal that feels more Scooby-Doo than Seven; and sure, a cast that also features Christina Ricci, Miranda Richardson, the Emperor, and Dumbledore, is largely wasted in underdeveloped roles that spend far too much time explaining the needlessly complicated plot … No matter! Sleepy Hollow still works as a twisted fantasy replete with enough gory decapitations to satisfy even the most morbid of filmgoers.
How scary is Sleepy Hollow: Not very. Burton has always been a visual maestro with a knack for sly macabre humor. Yet, he lacks the subtleties required to make a true chiller. As such, for all of its gore and splendid set design, Sleepy Hollow remains a relatively trite thriller — an entertaining popcorn feature designed to induce more laughs than screams.
Be on the lookout for: Nods to the classic 1949 Disney cartoon The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad, of which there are plenty — an odd thing to say about an R-rated horror film. In truth, I wonder how much better this one might have worked had Burton opted for a straight-up retelling of Washington Irving’s classic tale… Be honest, you’d watch a feature length film in which Depp’s Ichabod vies with Casper Van Dien’s Brom Bones for Ricci’s Katrina, amirite?
Where to watch Sleepy Hollow: The movie is available to rent for $3.99 at Amazon Prime Video. You can pick up your copy of the Blu-ray by clicking here, and if you enjoy Danny Elfman’s relentless score, click here to pick up the soundtrack.
CS October Horror Movie Recommendations:
October 1 – Session 9
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