No Marshmallows, Just Term Papers
Tim Burton's "Sleepy Hollow" begins with a story that would not have distinguished one of the lesser films from the Hammer horror franchise and elevates it by sheer style and acting into something entertaining and sometimes rather elegant. It is not, however, titled "Washington Irving's Sleepy Hollow," perhaps because the story has been altered out of all recognition from the Irving classic. What it depends upon is Burton's gift for bizarre and eccentric special effects, and a superb performance by Johnny Depp, who discards everything we may ever have learned or thought about Ichabod Crane and starts from scratch.
Ichabod Crane (Depp) is a 24-year-old New York City police officer in 1799. Facing imprisonment for going against traditional methods and favouring forensic investigation techniques such as finger-printing and autopsies not considered to be orthodox at that time and considered unimportant, Ichabod submits to deployment with his bag of tools to the Westchester County hamlet of Sleepy Hollow, New York, which has been plagued by a series of brutal slayings in which the victims have been found decapitated. Arriving in Sleepy Hollow, Crane is informed by the town's elders that the killer is not of flesh and blood, but rather an undead headless Hessian mercenary from the American Revolutionary War who rides at night on a massive black steed in search of his missing head.
Crane begins his investigation, remaining highly sceptical about the supernatural elements in the case until he actually encounters the Headless Horseman himself. Boarding in a room at the home of the town's richest family, the Van Tassels, Crane develops an attraction to their daughter Katrina, while he is plagued by nightmares of his mother's horrific torture when he was a child. Riding into the Western Woods with the orphaned Young Masbath, son of the Horseman's fifth victim, Crane and Katrina come across the cave dwelling of a reclusive sorceress. She reveals the location...