Sleepy Hollow (1999) – Film & DVD Review

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Since Tim Burton fans are showing up today in response to our preview of SWEENEY TODD, we thought we would offer up this review of Sweeney’s closest antecedent in Tim Burton’s ouevre.]

The Headless Horseman rides hell bent for leather in Tim Burton’s elaborate 1999 horror film, derived loosely from Washington Irving’s “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.” There may be some problems in the storytelling and exposition departments, but no one would deny the effective visual scheme that creates a fairy tale world in which the existence of a malevolent Headless Horseman – who returns from the grave to decapitate his victims – is completely believable. Burton’s work is a triumph of style over substance – a visual tour-de-force in which the director’s fairy tale horror aesthetic (so charming in THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS) is rendered in live-action to stupendous effect, overwhelming the weaknesses in the storyline.

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