Sleepy Hollow Review

Hi everyone, this is a piece I wrote for my college interview a few months ago.

I must have been around the age of 5 when I first encountered the gothic horror, Sleepy Hollow. It was way past my bedtime and having been woken up by nightmares of Freddie Kruger – a regular occurrence in my childhood – I went through to the living room where my mum had dozed off on the couch. Knowing that I’d be sent straight off to bed if she woke up, I sat quietly on a chair in front of the TV and caught my first glimpse of what would soon become one of my all-time favourite films. My first encounter was brief. I only managed to catch around 5 minutes of the film before my mum woke up and put me back to bed. From what I remember, that 5 minutes involved a scene in which a young Ichabod Crane – the film’s protagonist – was dancing with his mother who gracefully spiralled into the air in a bewitching fashion. At this age, I was obsessed with witches and my favourite TV show was Buffy the Vampire Slayer – a programme which regularly involved spells and charms. For all intents and purposes; I was now obsessed with Sleepy Hollow. By the age of 8, I must have watched it about 100 times. As time went on, I obsessed over other things, but this film always meant something special to me. An older Finn would go on to rediscover this Tim Burton gem and recognise its worth.
Tim Burton’s Sleepy Hollow, a reimagining of Washington Irving’s ‘Legend of Sleepy Hollow’ was released in 1999 and is set in 1799 America. It stars Johnny Depp as Ichabod Crane, a bizarre and cowardly detective with a fondness for the new-born field of forensics. The film sees him shipped off from New York to the eerie village of Sleepy Hollow where he is set to investigate a series of beheadings which locals claim to be the work of the Hessian Headless Horseman – a title which happily rolls off the tongue. Ichabod, a man of reasoning and logic is quick to dismiss all of these theories and sets off to find answers. However, he will soon have to confront his disbelief of superstition. And if you’re a secret softie like me, there’s a sweet little love story thrown in between Ichabod and the endearingly mysterious Katrina Van Tassel played by Christina Ricci.
Some fans may notice that this film pays a lot of homage to the old ‘Hammer’ Horror films. The film even features the late Christopher Lee, who is practically the face of Hammer. In fact, his scene where he plays a head judge in New York cleverly makes use of a statue behind him to make him appear to have bat-like wings in one frame; a nod to his role as Dracula.
I love this film because in typical Tim Burton fashion, he mixes inventive fantasies with Gothic designs. It is aesthetically dark and menacing. The set is frighteningly beautiful with most of the film looking very black and white – minus the bright red blood of course. The mise-en-scène of the film is spectacular and some could argue is what really drives this horror flick. Johnny Depp gives a great performance and somewhat comfortably portrays the eccentric and sometimes frustrating hero. You can tell that he feels right at home in another one of Burton’s gothic productions.
From the dialogue and costumes to the dreary lighting and outstanding music score by Danny Elfman, Sleepy Hollow is very convincing in portraying an already familiar story of the Headless Horseman. Bringing in a mixture of comedy, gore, witchcraft, blood-soaked trees and a wonderfully berserk Christopher Walken as the headless horseman; Sleepy Hollow easily put me under its spell for so many years. Any fan of horror and especially Tim Burton should watch this film. Heads will roll. Quite literally.

The Perks of Being A Wallflower film review

Hi everyone. This is an old review I wrote for The Perks of Being a Wallflower film. I have definitely changed my writing style since then but I want to keep my blog updated with more material.

Plot
Set in an early 90’s Pittsburgh, Charlie (Logan Lerman) begins his freshmen year at high school. Troubled by his past and underlying mental illness, he struggles to fit in anywhere. That is until he meets the delightful Sam (Emma Watson), her step-brother Patrick (Ezra Miller) and their “island of misfit toys”.

Review

Based on the bestselling novel which gathered an impressive cult following, ‘The Perks of Being a Wallflower’ delivers something quite unique in this day and age; truth. I think it’s fair to say that film and television had started to overdo the whole ‘teen angst’ scene. Although many great films and shows have been set in and around high school age groups such as: The Breakfast Club, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and Dead Poet’s Society- to name a few. There have been some major disappointments. An example of these would be; the many awful American Pie sequels, 9021Oh-no and the hot and cold Twilight Saga.
‘The Perks of Being a Wallflower’ is a film that I could perhaps imagine being a classic in years to come. The author of the book, Stephen Chbosky who also wrote and directed this film shows us his wonderful way of portraying the young adult world. Having seen and read interviews with him, it is evident that Chbosky has added some of his own experiences to this film and that he really cares about the characters and fans, which adds a beautiful truth to the whole image. Fans of the book will not be disappointed as he has delivered this film very tight-knitted to the novel. I praise Chbosky for his wonderful casting choices of the three leads: Lerman, Watson and Miller and the shining supporting cast that will bring a sense of nostalgia to adults and recognition to well aware teens.
Despite the film being set in the early 90’s it still creates a wide audience. The character developments are widely relatable, as are the storylines. The film tackles drug use, suicide, homosexuality, sex and mental illness. It also features feather boas, fishnets, Rocky Horror, Dexy’s Midnight Runners, David Bowie, classic novels and an extremely awkward scene of truth-or-dare. Not mentioning the wide range of quotes including the now popular ‘We accept the love we think we deserve’.
Emma Watson (formerly known as Hermione Granger) really breaks her Harry Potter image when playing her character Sam. Sam plays the love-interest of Charlie. But, she is much more than that. She is intelligent, naïve, troubled and has the audience fall in love with her as well as Charlie. Herself and her step-brother Patrick are Charlie’s unofficial guides throughout the film, teaching him what life really is. Newcomer and the ‘We Need to Talk about Kevin’ star, Ezra Miller plays the wonderful and flamboyant Patrick. Perhaps another actor would have just portrayed Patrick as the ‘gay best friend’ but Miller really brings depth to his character and brings the whole film together in his own unique way. He has the audience laughing, crying and wishing for a friend like him. Last of all we have ‘Percy Jackson’ star Logan Lerman showing us how good of an actor he is. Lerman brings Charlie to life from the book in a way that makes any fan weep for joy. He is the main character of the film and we are with him throughout his whole journey. Having recently had his best friend commit suicide, Charlie is in a bad way. Dark memories are resurfacing and he is alone. That is until he meets Sam, Patrick and their friends. He has his first party, he has his first experience with drugs, he has his first kiss and he has his first love. The best thing about Lerman is that he makes us feel what the character feels. He takes us into Charlie’s head; darkness and all. There is only one word for this cast and that is perfect.
Verdict
For high school students past and present, this is bound to bring out some locked away part of your emotional adolescence. The cast and storytelling is what makes this film. The technical direction of the film is faulty at times but it goes mostly unnoticed. You will feel like you are part of the group and experiencing their problems, pains and joys along with them. I recommend this film to any ‘coming of age’ fan.