Now that we’re officially in September, it’s kosher to talk of Halloween horror (I’ve seen Christmas decorations in the stores already). Well, around here we don’t really need an excuse, but since it’s handy I’ll use it. Regular readers know I’ve been on a Sleepy Hollow kick lately, and I’d been wanting to see The Hollow. Released as an ABC television movie, it had a fairly modest budget of only about $900,000 but managed to pull in stars with name recognition. A pre-Penny Kaley Couco also appears as the new version of Katrina Van Tassel. Let me back up a bit. This is set in the present day. Halloween eve. Karen (not Katrina) is watching a Sleepy Hollow retelling being done by Ian Cranston, but her bored escort, Brody (Brom, anyone?), goes to the graveyard instead with some of his friends. Two of them are killed. Oh yes, there will be spoilers.
It turns out that Ian, who’s just moved to the area, is the last remaining descendant of Ichabod Crane. You see, after Ichabod fled, and settled in New York City, he changed his name for fear that the Horseman would find him. Now that a Crane is back in town, the Horseman rides again. The teen-rivalry between Ian and Brody plays out at Karen takes a shine to the newcomer. A descendant of Hans Van Ripper, who unaccountably talks like a pirate—lots of “ye”s thrown in—realizes that the Horseman’s after the young Cranston. Since he’s the town drunk, though, nobody really believes anything he says. On Halloween the town has a haunted hay ride in which each side of the love triangle is involved. Brody plays the Horseman, but suddenly there are two of them—uh oh!
Cranston, who’s on the fencing team (to the everlasting shame of his football-coach father), is able to engage the fiend in swordplay and eventually destroys him. He gets the girl and impresses his father all in one predictable way. There are some laughs along the way, but for the most part this is played as teen drama. Some racy scenes (and head-chopping) led to an R rating, but there’s little that’s surprising here. For anyone who’s interested in the various ways Washington Irving’s “Legend of Sleepy Hollow” has been repackaged over the years, it’s a reasonable enough diversion. When Halloween draws closer, however, it may well be time to try something a bit more appropriate for the harvest season.