Sleepy Hollow (1999)

Genres - Horror  |   Sub-Genres - Costume Horror, Gothic Film, Detective Film  |   Release Date - Nov 19, 1999 (USA)  |   Run Time - 106 min.  |   Countries - Germany , United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Often cited as an homage to the infamous films of Hammer Studios, upon deeper investigation into the influences of director Tim Burton, it becomes increasingly clear that, while the film does indeed have much in common with the British horror classics, the majority of visual influence is instead derived from the lush, gothic films of Mario Bava. Bearing a striking resemblance to 1960s Black Sunday in particular, Burton's muted color palate, vividly splashed with abundant amounts of blood so unnaturally red it seems to drip from the screen, represents a masterful command of color scheme rarely seen since Bava's color-era heyday. While Sleepy Hollow may not retain the masterful balance of a striking visuals and solid characterization as skillfully as Burton's early efforts, Sleepy Hollow remains a remarkably beautiful film which offers both dark humor and some breathtaking set pieces. Burton's cast does as much as humanly possible to bring scribe Andrew Kevin Walker's characters to life, though without the proper foundation, the means to define the characters much further beyond the occasional meaningful gesture or enduring quirk are unfortunately absent. Despite this minor flaw, those willing to judge Sleepy Hollow on its own terms and forego the stratospheric expectations with which Burton films are generally greeted will find themselves in for a sumptuously visual and giddily macabre interpretation of an enduring tale that has chilled the bones of children for generations.