Alternates between horror and comedy. Should have made up their mind and cut in the horror bits.
The comedic element focus on Doctor Crane, so it might be an afterthought designed to use Johnny Depp to its fullest extent. Not that the horror elements are played for scares, they are more window dressing to set up the mood of Gothic horror.
The plot itself is a whodunnit with supernatural elements. Ichabod Crane is a city slicker, a scientist assigned to investigate a series of grizzly murders in some podunk village. He arrives there and finds the locals a superstitious bunch, uncivilized hillbillies that failed to receive the light of Science.
At least Gothic Science, since hisinstruments are ridiculed by everyone and don’t achieve much success in practice. Just regular detective work and the help of the eldest son of one of the victims can lead them to solving the crimes.
After seeing with his own eyes one of the murders he has a crisis of faith and his whole world crumbles. He recovers his senses and continues to investigate, hoping for a non-supernatural explanation that can restore his faith in Science.
There are several times when the culprit is obvious, but he evades capture by showing up brutally murdered.
This title was localized as “The Legend of the Headless Knight”, which dampens the surprise for when the knight shows up. On the other hand, being played by Christopher Walken without any dialogue makes up for it.
The exposition speech in the end is kinda laughable. Very Holmesian, so it fits.
A Tim Burton film means daddy issues. No exceptions! It’s a part of his trademark, just like having Elfman doing the music with children vocal chorus in the opening credits.