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Parents' Guide to

Sleepy Hollow

By Nell Minow, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 18+

Very gory, violent take on classic tale.

Movie R 1999 105 minutes
Sleepy Hollow Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 13+

Based on 19 parent reviews

age 18+
Wow. It’s meh. Very bloody.
age 16+

Rated 16 (strong gore, horror, injury detail).

MAIN CONTENT ISSUES - There are images of strong gore throughout, mainly in the aftermath of violence after people have had their heads chopped off, with frequent sight of the severed heads. These gory scenes are only occasionally accompanied by sight of blood spurting. Other moments of gore include brief sight of a man getting chopped in half, and a scene where a man is impaled with a spike through his back and dragged out of a window. Strong horror and threat occurs throughout, including one scene of strong bloody horror where a woman's corpse falls out of an iron maiden torture device causing blood to spill out onto a young boy, as well as a scene where a character finds a bundle of bloody severed heads in a tree. There are occasional moments of strong injury detail where decapitated bodies are examined, and there is close-up sight of their neck wounds, including one moment where a cockroach crawls out of a corpse's neck injury, as well as other moments where people are seen splattered with blood. | OTHER ISSUES - There is one brief scene of moderate sex. There is strong fantasy violence throughout; the aftermath of the violence is more graphic than the violence itself. | RATED "16" - Suitable only for persons aged 16 years and over. Contains content not recommended for viewing by any person below the age of 16.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (19 ):
Kids say (76 ):

SLEEPY HOLLOW is less the Washington Irving story than it is Scream set in post-Revolution times. The themes of science vs. supernatural and appearance vs. reality appear throughout the movie as Crane must understand his own past to see the truth. He describes himself as "imprisoned by a chain of reasoning." He keeps coming back to a toy given to him by his mother, a spinning disk with a bird on one side and a cage on the other. As it spins, the bird appears to be inside the cage, an optical illusion, and, not by coincidence, the very illusion (persistence of vision) that makes viewers think that the people in the thousands of still pictures that make up a movie are really moving.

Depp plays Crane with the right haunted look and rigid posture. But the ludicrousness of some of the plot turns and the exaggerated fright reactions leave him with the most outrageous eye-rolling since Harvey Korman's imitation of a silent film star. Indeed, the movie frequently brings to mind those sublime Carol Burnett Show movie parodies, especially when the villain ultimately finds time for a detailed confession as the planned final victim is waiting for the Headless Horseman to arrive. The wonderful Christina Ricci is wasted in an ingenue part.

Movie Details

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