On-Line Review by Christian Leopold Shea:

Sleepy Hollow: Hollow and Sleepy

© 1999 by Christian Leopold Shea. All rights reserved.

Sleepy Hollow, directed by Tim Burton and allegedly based on Washington Irving's classic spooky story, "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow," may be summed up in three words: hollow, sleepy, and disgusting.

Hollow: this wretched, cynical exercise in the cinematic abuse of literature for corporate profit bears almost no relationship to "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow." The original story's classic, climactic scary night flight of Ichabod Crane from the Headless Horseman and his flaming jack-o-lantern which has frightened people for two centuries is reduced to a single passing episode in this hollow imitation of Irving's story. The person behind the killings becomes so painfully obvious during Ichabod's first private conversation with Katrina Van Tassel (Christina Ricci, an outstanding actress who is so badly-directed by Burton that her on-screen reactions bear no relationship to what is being said to her character) that in every scene thereafter the villain might as well have a flashing subtitle appear during each appearance stating, KILLER. As the saying goes (which anyone who has ever seen or read a mystery story knows): FOLLOW THE MONEY.

Sleepy: with the exception of a few funny lines from Johnny Depp's "Ichabod Crane," Kevin Yagher's script and its lack-lustre direction by Tim Burton, who has, with this, undoubtedly churned out his worst film ever, is tiresome and boring (and no, this reviewer did not see this Thanksgiving turkey before consuming mounds of sleep-inducing, trytophan-rich holiday turkey). There were several points during the film when the only thing keeping me awake were the musical score and the frequent on-screen screaming. The utter obviousness of the person responsible for the killings creates a suspense level close to catatonia.

Disgusting: let me sum up Sleepy Hollow in a few key phrases:

How bad is Sleepy Hollow? Well, perhaps it was modesty, or perhaps it was embarassment, but Oscar®-winner Martin Landau appears in the film as the character who precipitates the slaughter, and Christopher Walken has many scenes, playing the Hessian mercenary who ultimately becomes the Headless Horseman. Both star chose to have their names excluded from the credits. The reader may draw his or her own conclusions from this decision by these major stars, neither of whom has had any qualms about appearing (fully creditd) in bad movies in the past.

With the rise in theater ticket prices and the growing international audience of our page, our old NW2: Not Worth $2 to W8: Worth $8 rating scale has become less useful than previously, so, in line with the scale used by the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) we have adopted a scale of 1 star to 10 stars, with "1 Star" being a VERY bad movie, and "10 Stars" being a movie classic. Our On-Line Reviewer, however, has gone where IMDb has never gone before: he has added a score of Zero for those movies which are so bad that they are not even good "camp" -- movies so bad that not even "Mystery Science Theater 3000" could could make them worth watching.

On this scale, anything rated "7 Stars" or above is worth the cost of a theater ticket, "8 Stars" is worth standing in line to buy a ticket, "9 Stars" is worth standing in line in a driving rain rainstorm of killer heatwave to buy a ticket, and "10 Stars" is a movie worth driving hundreds of miles to go see -- at least in Dr. Shea's own opinion. Accordingly,

Sleepy Hollow gets only 3 Stars out of a possible 10.

Completely AVOID this disgusting gore-fest of murder, child abuse and animal cruelty.

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