Tim Burton’s Sleepy Hollow
Festive cheer can give way to holiday fear should fans of horror choose to watch this movie on the fortnight of Christmas — which is when this film supposedly ends. This detective story expands upon the original narrative Washington Irving wrote and it moves much like the latest small screen imagining on Fox TV’s program using the same name.
What makes this Burton version notable is his trademark surrealistic style of direction and effects work. Adding to the pathos evoked while watching the film is the stygian atmosphere captured by cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki. The grey never relents in showing how encroaching the terror is. Christopher Walken is apropos as the living version of the Horseman, but his performance was nevertheless over the top, almost ruining the perfection of this film.
The Woman in Black
Readers of Susan Hill’s book will recall that the story begins on Christmas Eve. Not every adaptation since then always acknowledges that fact, making this film’s connection with the holiday all that apparent. But for the apparition that appears, it haunts Arthur Kipps to no end. Depending on the version viewers find, the theatrical version or a cinematic cut, he finds either restitution or destitution. And there’s the difficulty of deciding which movie is better. If comparisons had to be made, Herbert Wise’s 1989 film is the superior one of the two. James Watkin’s 2012 version has its moments, but the problem with the update is that it changes a few story points from Hill’s version around.
With a cinematic sequel Woman in Black: Angel of Death due out January 2, 2015, the likelihood of any holiday themed storytelling will be gone. This new tale has Hill involved in crafting a sequel of sorts, but some fans of the classic may well wonder if she sold out? One off tales are often best left just that, than to turn a much-loved original into a franchise.
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