That hope grew stronger when the first still photos were circulated. It became apparent that, though the movie was going to be a travesty, it was going to be the coolest travesty EVER.
Indeed, the storyline had very little to do with Washington Irving's story - there's a headless horseman, and there are characters with the same names as the characters in the story, but that's pretty much it. Ichabod goes from being a superstitous schoolmaster to a decidedly scientific police inspector sent to investigate some murders in Sleepy Hollow. Most versions of the story have the horseman turn out to be real, but this one really takes it a few steps further.
The mystery plot is fun, and Ichabod is a fun character (Johnny Depp shines here), but it's the visuals that make the film. Few, if any, horror movies have ever looked so beautifully creepy as this, with the damp autumn pallet, the gorgeous costumes, and the best beheading scene in all of cinema, for my money. Great shots are everywhere. Burton was far more inspired by the Disney version than the original manuscript, and I'd say he made the right choice.
I still maintain that the ideal Sleepy Hollow movie lies somewhere in between - the look and feel of this one with a storyline closer to the one in the Will Rogers version. Still, this movie was enough to bring me away from being a Sleepy Hollow purist, and that's saying something.