It seems nowadays that Tim Burton’s primary concern is how to make Johnny Depp look different. For over two decades now he and Depp have teamed up to make visually inventive and atmospheric films of diminishing quality. For me Sleepy Hollow represents the high point in their relationship – and the last time it produced a worthwhile product.
Barnabus Collins (Depp) is a vampire. Dormant for centuries after a spell laid by a beautiful witch. Barnabus is reawakened in the swinging 1960s to find his family manor still standing, but now tenanted by a family, that while Collins in name, seem a startling departure from what he remembers.
Of course though they are all kooky and unique little snowflakes, both in skintone and demeanour. So much so that now one week after watching the film, I can recall none of them. Oh I remember Michelle Pfeiffer played the matriarch, and Jonny Lee Miller some guy, but such was the nondescript nature of the character and the nonplussed tone of the film, I remember not one skerrick of information beyond that.
It’s not needed either. If they spend as much time on the plot and character development as they did on the swinging soundtrack, the lush production design and the immaculate costuming, we might be on to something. But this is a hodge-podge disaster of Barnabus returning to restore the Collins name and fortune, all while none of the new occupants can know of his real identity and nature.
Hardly likely, seeing as they are as lifeless and pallid as the undead Barnabus and the film itself. All involved in the film remain sans pulse until a frantic final ten minutes or so that juxtaposes the comatose two hours that preceded it. Too little much too late though. It seems that the glory days or Burton and Depp are now in the past, and it will take more than zany costumes and a little makeup to reanimate subject matter as dull and lifeless as Dark Shadows.
Final Rating – 5.5 / 10. Another forgotten ‘classic’ show reintroduced to present society just in time for us to realise why it was forgotten in the first place.