Given the Tim Burton’s stylistic sensibilities and longtime status as Hollywood’s favorite mainstream outsider, it’s strange to remember that Sleepy Hollow writer Andrew Kevin Walker originally penned the script back in 1993 as a low budget slasher.
Naturally, when Burton came aboard the project gained an entirely new level of visibility, as well as the inevitable casting of Johnny Depp in the lead role. Now coming at a cost of $70 million, the pressure was on for the creative BFFs to deliver the goods on both a critical and commercial level.
That’s exactly what they did, with Sleepy Hollow ranking as Burton’s highest-grossing non-Batman movie ever at the time of its November 1999 release, with 70 and 80 percent scores from critics and crowds on Rotten Tomatoes highlighting that both parties were left pleased, and it even landed an Academy Award win for Best Art Direction into the bargain.
Atmospheric and offbeat are often words associated with the filmmaker’s output, but Sleepy Hollow is surprisingly gruesome, with buckets of blood and a myriad of eye-catching kills coming as Depp’s Ichabod Crane attempts to thwart the murderous spree of Christopher Walken’s Headless Horseman that’s been causing havoc and chaos in the titular town.
It might not be Burton’s finest work, but Sleepy Hollow endures as an unsettlingly off-kilter supernatural fable packed with excellent performances, top-notch production design, and blasts of jolting terror. It’s also in the midst of decapitating the Netflix rankings, too, with the over-the-top fantasy horror having nabbed Top 10 spots in multiple nations since being added to the library in a myriad of international markets on October 1 per FlixPatrol, right in time for spooky season.