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The Boston Phoenix

May 25 - June 1, 2000

2.5 Stars
Sleepy Hollow
(Paramount)

In this stylistically spellbinding take on "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow," the 1819 Washington Irving chiller about a horseman with no head, Tim Burton ends up slitting his own throat. His Ichabod Crane (Johnny Depp) is no dorky schoolteacher but a natty New York City constable. And his vicious, chop-crazy headless horseman has an excuse: someone has stolen his skull from his grave dictates his killings. The search for the possessor of the purloined pate has to compete with a self-conscious, fantastical homage to the Hammer horror flicks of the '50s and '60s, Ichabod's romance with the comely Katrina Van Tassel (Christina Ricci, wasted here), and the febrile dreamscape of Ichabod's Oedipus complex. The director then unleashes a climactic chase scene, some pyrotechnics, and flip tossaway lines worthy of a Schwarzenegger romp; by the end, it's Burton who's lost his head.


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