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Ultra HD : Recommended
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Release Date: September 5th, 2023 Movie Release Year: 1999

Sleepy Hollow - 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray [SteelBook]

Overview -

Just in time for spooky season, when a horse-riding, pumpkin-throwing headless horseman isn’t out of the ordinary, Tim Burton’s Sleepy Hollow makes its way to 4K Ultra HD courtesy of Paramount Home Entertainment with a two-disc release that fans are sure to love. While the extras package is thin, the stunning new 2160p transfer aided by Dolby Vision HDR is anything but. Plus, if you opted for the SteelBook release, you get the original The Legend of Sleepy Hollow story in a very unique presentation. This release comes Recommended!


Master storyteller Tim Burton (Batman, Edward Scissorhands) weaves an eerie, enchanting version of this classic tale of horror. Johnny Depp is Ichabod Crane, an eccentric investigator determined to stop the murderous Headless Horseman. Christina Ricci is Katrina Van Tassel, the beautiful and mysterious girl with secret ties to the supernatural terror. (English), Master storyteller Tim Burton (Batman, Edward Scissorhands) weaves an eerie, enchanting version of this classic tale of horror. Johnny Depp is Ichabod Crane, an eccentric investigator determined to stop the murderous Headless Horseman. Christina Ricci is Katrina Van Tassel, the beautiful and mysterious girl with secret ties to the supernatural terror.

Rating Breakdown
Tech Specs & Release Details
Technical Specs:
4K Ultra HD Blu-ray + Blu-ray + Digital
Video Resolution/Codec:
Dolby Vision HDR / HDR10
Aspect Ratio(s):
Audio Formats:
English: Dolby Atmos
English SDH, French, Spanish
Release Date:
September 5th, 2023

Storyline: Our Reviewer's Take


Ah, the 1990s. What a time it was to be a Tim Burton fan, right? The filmmaker had hit after hit of huge creative successes, plus the box office was never too shabby for him. So, how’d he ended up directing Sleepy Hollow, a movie he wasn’t aware of until a year before production? Sleepy Hollow was originally written and produced to be a pretentious slasher film by special effects makeup wizard Kevin Yagher, but Paramount shut down that idea after disagreeing with Yagher’s approach. In comes Tim Burton with the idea to rewrite the script and make it a big-budget homage to Hammer and Universal horror, while also honoring the original The Legend of Sleepy Hollow story. The result was a mad dash of creative energy that congealed into a Hollywood rarity – a bloody, violent, quirky, rated-R fantasy horror drama. 

Burton went on the record saying he wondered why he hadn’t worked in the horror genre directly yet in his career, as so many of his films incorporate horror elements to color in his world. And with Johnny Deep as the lead, Christina Ricci as the love interest and a murderer’s row of classically trained UK character actors littered throughout the film, Sleepy Hollow quickly became a huge movie in 1999.

Sleepy Hollow follows the adventures of Ichabod Crane (Depp), a sinewy, feminine New York City police constable who has a knack for using science to determine crimes. He’s soon dispatched to Sleepy Hollow, a quiet Upstate New York town with a big problem – there’s a headless horseman wreaking havoc on the local citizens by lopping off the heads of anyone who catches his ire. Something funky is happening in town, though, and the killings may be motivated by those who wish to be in political power in town. Ichabod is joined by Katrina Van Tassel (Ricci), the daughter of one of the town’s richest farmers, to solve the case and stop the beheadings.

It’s very funny to look back on Sleepy Hollow as a pure expression of Burton’s many preoccupations, as the original script couldn’t be further from that, but Burton has a knack for expressing his influence completely over a film. From the casting, production design, lighting, cinematography, the man is deeply involved in how his films look. Thus, Sleepy Hollow comes out looking like a mix between Hammer horror and those weather-worn, slightly sinister, black and white still imagery made popular by stories like The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. Yes, that has a bit of an adverse effect on the script, which is not much more than well-refined horror tropes being given a fresh coat of paint and dedicated performers, though Burton’s touch turns it all into wonderful pulp.

Needless to say, Sleepy Hollow holds up as one of Burton’s greatest creations and a perfect example of a filmmaker focused intensely on all the things that make up a complete cinematic vision. Plus, you know, Christopher Walken with razor-sharp teeth is worth the price of purchase alone. 

Vital Disc Stats: The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray 

Sleepy Hollow hits 4K Ultra HD with a SteelBook package based on the Fabelo design. What’s that, you may ask? The fabelo design combines the metal exterior of a SteelBook and a hardcover book. In short, it’s a Mediabook wrapped in metal, and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving in its entirety is presented as a hardcover book within. The two discs are stacked, unfortunately, but at least the disc well is deep enough to give the discs some breathing room. The 4K discs is a BD66, while the standard Blu-ray is a BD25. Both discs boot up to standard menu screens with options to play the film, set up audio and video, explore bonus features and select chapters. 




Video Review


For our beloved readers who follow along every time we write about a new 4K Ultra HD release from Paramount Home Entertainment, we’re happy to report that Sleepy Hollow rides out in 2160p from the right side of Paramount’s restoration house. Thus, the result is nothing short of stunning and a huge upgrade over the very, very old 2006 Blu-ray. Cinematographer Emmanuel “Chivo” Lubezki and Burton achieved the monochromatic, weathered look they were going for by using a high level of contrast and wide-angle lenses. Such a contrast-focused image can look terrible in 4K if not handled properly, but good lord is it all beautifully rendered here. Black levels are the best they’ve ever looked at home, really pulling out every detail from those deep black and grey hues. Flesh tones are tuned in just right, avoiding looking too rosy cast against the highly stylized production design. While some filmmakers may have used filters to achieve a similar look, Burton and Lubezki did not, and effects like smoke and light are given a terrific boost in 2160p.

As for the Dolby Vision HDR layer, it properly respects the subdued, darker hues that Burton and Lubezki were going for. A pleasure to see and the HDR brings out the absolute most in shadow details. If anything, the exposure to 2160p will only amplify your respect for the film’s look, as it’s all so breathlessly detailed. The source is in terrific condition as well, with nary a note of damage to be seen. This a huge win for fans of the film.

As for the standard Blu-ray, Paramount has unfortunately just included the old 2006 Blu-ray without the new 4K transfer. Very disappointing for those who want to pick up this release for an upgraded standard Blu-ray of the film.

Audio Review


Alright, no new Dolby Atmos track on this release. That being said, the new DTS-HD MA 5.1 surround track is absolutely no slouch in the audio department. That gorgeous, eerie score from Danny Elfman flies across your channels as the film sweeps you up in its world. Bass is very appreciable and the film goes from soft to loud in an instant during heightened sequences. Source looks to be in perfect condition with no damage to note.

Special Features


As for special features, I’m sad to report that Paramount has carried over all previous extras from the 2006 Blu-ray release and included nothing new. The EPK extras here are fine, but the lack of an audio commentary on the UHD disc is rather disappointing. However, the packaging does include the original The Legend of Sleepy Hollow story so this SteelBook isn't for nothing. 

Disc 2: Standard Blu-ray

  • Audio commentary by Tim Burton
  • Sleepy Hollow Behind the Legend (SD 30:03)
  • Reflections on Sleepy Hollow (SD 11:26)
  • Teaser trailer (HD 2:17)
  • Theatrical trailer (HD 2:25)

Tim Burton’s Sleepy Hollow is back to spook you just in time for Halloween, and the new 4K Ultra HD release from Paramount includes a stunning new 4K transfer and boisterous audio presentation that fans are sure to enjoy. While no new standard Blu-ray is included with the new transfer and no new special features are offered, this release comes Recommended for people wanting a huge video upgrade over the previous 2006 Blu-ray. Of the two options, the SteelBook is the way to go (if you can find it).

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