Off With Their Heads!

The Headless Horseman rides again, in this watchable adaptation of the Washington Irving story.

A warning at the outset - this movie is not for the faint-hearted. Decapitated bodies, dark nights, eerie silences, trees of blood, twisted oaks, cemeteries, a headless, sword-swinging horseman, nightmares, witches,expressionless Johnny Depp...see what I mean?

The year is 1799. A few miles north of New York City, is Sleepy Hollow - a small town inhabited by Dutch immigrants. In it has occured three gruesome killings, all in the space of a fortnight. The perpetrator of the crimes is supposedly a sinister headless horseman. To it, is sent police detective Ichabod Crane, played by Johnny Depp, a man obsessed with gadgets, science, reason, effect and consequences and everything rational. What unravells is a rather complicated plot motivated by revenge and greed for money - what else?

In a flick where reality and the supernatural enjoy a healthy mix, the special effects are convincing and entertaining. There are lots of thrills, there is lots of blood spouting out of severed necks at autopsies, and lots of graves being dug up. The dialogue is mostly flat, but has a few peaks every now and then. The heavy musical score creates a sense of foreboding, adding to the haunting atmosphere.

The story in itself is engaging - and no wonder, since this film is the silver screen version of Washington Irving's original story "The Legend Of Sleepy Hollow".

I'd say definitely go watch this one. It's a really good horror show. Theatres have not seen one like it in quite some time.

This article was first published on 24 May 2000.