Posted in: Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on August 22nd, 2002
Sleepy Hollow is certainly not your father’s version of the Washington Irving tale. Sleepy Hollow is enshrouded in patented Tim Burton darkness and rich gothic atmosphere. Johnny Depp continues to amaze… although his performances never appear extraordinary, they are nonetheless almost always wonderful immersions in character. Christina Ricci proves that her inspired deadpan performance in the Addams Family films was no fluke. I think you will find this to be one of the finest contemporary horror films to come along in years.
People are losing their heads in the small New England town of Sleepy Hollow. Ichabod Craine (Depp) is a big city detective determined to prove that the rampant legends of a headless horseman are merely the stuff of children’s tales and that the murderer is a flesh and blood human.
Sleepy Hollow contains a spirited Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack. The sound of the horseman moving through the foggy wilds of Sleepy Hollow will emerge from your sub with frightening realism. Dialogue is always well centered and easy to hear. The mix is far from aggressive but is used with artistic brilliance to complete the vivid imagery that is all Tim Burton. Danny Elfman provides yet another eerie Burton soundtrack that is reproduced quite effectively on the DVD.
Tim Burton provides a commentary track that is entertaining but not engrossing. Burton is obviously a shy man and does not appear comfortable discussing his own work. He becomes most passionate when talking about the cast.
Sleepy Hollow is presented in its original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1, and this is a very impressive transfer. Credit Burton for providing such hypnotic visuals that are given their due in this presentation. The blacks are perhaps the best reproduction of shadow on any DVD I’ve seen thus far. They are extremely deep and true. This film would be a pale imitation of itself were this not the case. Colors are subdued and somewhat exotic throughout the film. The outstanding exception is the blood, which stands out in contrast to majority of the film’s palette. This must have been one hell of a challenge during mastering.
There is the typical “Behind The Scenes” documentary that is appropriately heavy on Tim Burton. A nice collection of interviews with the cast and production crew provides a nice balance to the Burton piece. The assorted biography and production materials join two trailers to complete this impressive disc.
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow is considered the first American horror story and was considered quite graphic and terrifying at the time. There were articles warning of “disturbed minds” after reading the tale. Boy, have we come a long way. Sleepy Hollow lives up to the classic that gave it life. The only thing I can say about a horror fan who does not enjoy this masterpiece is: “Their heads are not to be found”.
Special Features List
- Behind the Legend Featurette
- Cast & Crew Interviews
- Photo Gallery