This is definitely a Tim Burton movie. The tones are almost pure
black and white, with enough grey shades to liven things up a little -but
just a little. As a result, the two blondes really stick out.
The makeup only enhances the effect, enough to make one think that everybody
in the year 1799 was very pale, with dark circles around their eyes.
Everybody looks possessed.
The plot was too complicated for my tastes. There were
too many conspirators. I had trouble with all their names, since
they all sounded similar, and when they were all listed, and talked about,
and found guilty, I became quite confused.
Ichabod Crane is a cop in this version, instead of a teacher,
as he apparently is in the book. He works in New York, but is sent
to Sleepy Hollow to use his scientific tools and deductive reasoning to
find a killer who decapitates his victims. He arrives in the village,
and talks with the town leaders. They are convinced that a headless
horseman is doing the killing. They tell him the story of a Hessian
sent over from Germany to help secure America for the British. I
got confused here, too. Luckily, I had read a little backstory, but
not enough. I still don't know what a Hessian is. But this
man took great pleasure during the American Revolution in decapitating
his victims. He was finally killed, and deposited in a grave.
Twenty years later, he has risen and rides to the village in
Crane doesn't believe a word of this, but he is forced to reevaluate
his beliefs when he comes face to face (um..) with the headless horseman
himself! He then discovers the tree of the dead, which houses the
missing heads of the victims, and behind which lies the grave of the Hessian
man. The skull is missing. Crane now believes that someone
dug up the skull, and is using it to control the man, telling him to kill
the person of choice.
He does some more searching, and decides that the head of the
town, Van Tessel, is the murderer. But then he is killed. The
daughter, with whom Crane has fallen in love, is then suspected.
But he realizes that she was using her witchcraft for good, even though
it didn't work.
He determines the true person in charge of the horseman's skull
using pure science. But she is a witch, and it takes a lot of cunning
and fighting to get the skull back. It turns out she was looking
for revenge for Van Tessel kicking her out of her own home when she was
a girl. She sold her soul to the devil and took revenge upon him
and his family.
Luckily, Crane is able to get the skull, and the horseman takes
the witch as his bride. What happens to them after that is unclear.
I think there was too much exposition by the witch at the end.
She tells all, her whole plan, how she did it, and why she did it.
The visuals were neat, however. The trees, the horseman,
and even the witch, even though I thought parts of that could have been
omitted. The horseman was obviously stop motion in most cases.
I think that was supposed to be recognized, though, because the horseman
was not of this Earth. He had to appear slightly strange, but most
people would not recognize what was so wrong about the motions.
There is not much else to say about it. The movie was dark,
complex, and uncertain at the end. But it had some good acting (and
some bad acting), and good visuals. Not too bad a balance.