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.

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My regular movie binging weekend

Hey y’all. So, this weekend was pretty uneventful as basically everyone I know in my student halls was home for the weekend – laaaame! During the day on Friday I had an introduction type thing at my new work which is at a toy shop. It was only safety procedures, a tour of the building, getting my rota; that type of thing. The 2 hours seemed to drag on a bit. Although, I’m certainly not complaining as I need the money. After my introduction I stopped at the ridiculously expensive Sainsbury’s for movie snacks as I knew what the weekend was going to entail.

Cheeky wee me had already downloaded plenty of new things to watch – tooootallly not illegally btw 😉 – so once I was settled in and had made dinner etc. I weirdly decided to watch a new rom-com type film called ‘What If’. It had Daniel Radcliffe in it which definitely took me a while to get used to, as at first I just couldn’t take his non-Harry Potter acting quite so seriously. He played a recently single man who was in the severe post-breakup stage which you tend to see dramatized a lot in film. At a party hosted by his friend (who’s played by ‘Girls’ and upcoming ‘Star Wars’ actor, Adam Driver) he meets Zoe Kazan’s character Chantry and they seem to hit it off. He walks her home and then she mentions her boyfriend *DUM DUM DUMMMMMM!*. Despite throwing away her number they later meet at a showing of ‘The Princess Bride’ – which prompted me to re-watch it later on in the weekend – and they challenge the idea of the age old question; can boys and girls ever be just friends… WHICH IS YES. The movie is about their relationship developing and them obviously becoming more than just friends but without them openly admitting it. I enjoyed Kazan’s performance as I thought she was quite sweet and fresh. I would possibly keep an eye out for her. Radcliffe’s performance wasn’t awful either once I got used to him but I know that many people say that he’s pretty shit, although I hear he’s quite good in upcoming film ‘Horns’, which I have also not downloaded illegally.

After the film, I took a little tea break and then started watching ‘White Bird in a Blizzard’ which I have wanted to see for quite some time. It is directed by Gregg Araki, whose films I usually enjoy although sometimes bazaar. This film features two actresses whom I love: Shailene Woodley and Eva Green. They play mother and daughter. We are told at the start of the film that Eva Green’s strange character, Eve has disappeared. The film is sort of about how Shailene Woodley’s character Kat deals with it and comes of age. The film also slowly unravels what has really happened. I’m trying not to write too much on this post as I’m quite tired but let me tell you this: I thought that it was a very good film with some amazing performances by Woodley, Green and supporting cast. It furthers my love for Shailene and she is definitely nearing my favourite actress spot. The film will appear a little strange to some but I say just give it a chance and appreciate it for what it is. Perhaps my favourite film of the weekend.

I fell straight asleep after the last film and didn’t wake up until ridiculous o’ clock the next day. Basically as soon as I woke up I got started on other things… I watched the first episode of ‘Gotham’, the Batman spin off crime show set just as Bruce Wayne/Batman’s parents die. It had flaws but also has the potential to become something I watch weekly and praise. I watched the new episode of ‘Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D’ which I thoroughly enjoyed as I always do. As previously mentioned I watched ‘The Princess Bride’ which I haven’t seen in so long. Each moment was a savored sense of nostalgia. A true, true pleasure. I even smile just thinking about it. If you haven’t seen it; WATCH IT!!! It is a complete classic. Ahhhhhhh! “Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. prepare to die.” So many memorable performances in one film! I also watched ‘Lucy’ which features the wonderful Scarlett Johansson as a woman who ends up unlocking 100% of her brain. I had heard mostly bad reviews of this but I have to say that I quite liked it. It was different but it was enjoyable. I ended the night with ‘Nymphomaniac Volume 1’ which if you’ve heard of, you already know the craziness. I still haven’t finished it as I fell asleep but it is about a woman’s story of her being a nymphomaniac (sex addict). It is quite fucked up at parts and someone who isn’t used to different types of film would be shocked. Despite Shia Labeouf’s awful attempt at a British accent, I thought it was rather good from what I saw. For those experimental types; give it a go.

Anyway, today is Monday and I have been working the majority of the day. Don’t worry, I’ll post all about it tomorrow.

For this was another pointless post by maraudingminds 🙂 G’night.