You have to be in a certain mood to enjoy a movie like The Head Hunter. The pacing is slow, there’s no dialogue or any type of action but the atmosphere is just perfect. It’s almost liberating to play a movie fully knowing that nothing much is going to be happening. We have our Hunter, stunning nature, and heads of monsters he’s hunting. This is all about the atmosphere and initial setup. And the initial setup is quite potent. We will be following an ancient warrior living alone in the woods and hunting monsters. That’s it, that’s the plot. As you might have guessed, this is a low-budget movie that certainly doesn’t look like that.
The Head Hunter features lush landscapes that are a blend of ancient Britannia and harsh Norwegian wilderness. I’m feeling the same vibes around armor and weapons. And not in the million years would I guess that all this was shot in Portugal. The cinematography is simply stunning for this type of production. It’s sharp and sleek, just the way I like it. Every shot and every camera movement feels purposeful and important. This enables you to completely immerse yourself in the story. To feel like you’re actually living in this cabin or simply watching this hunter from afar. And then you start thinking about how it would be to live in this world. We could say that it is the time of the plague, so everybody is socially distancing.
New winds are blowing through the ancient forests full of monsters and bitter coldness. One muscular and tough man lives in these harsh conditions along with his young daughter. When he hears the horn from the nearby castle, that means there’s danger afoot and he grabs his sword to dispatch it. However, one faithful night, one monster will take everything from him. And from that moment on, he will have one desire and one desire only, revenge.
With a runtime of just seventy minutes, The Head Hunter is a short but sweet fantasy tale. It shows what can be achieved with a lot of thinking and dedication. You can feel Game of Thrones and more importantly, The Witcher vibes here. Especially since Geralt of Rivia is also a monster hunter. And nature seems similar to the one seen in both games and the television show. It’s simply amazing how much drones changed the game when it comes to budget filmmaking. Some of the scenes here look like they belong in big Hollywood productions. The same goes for shields, armors, and weapons. They also look very authentic and for the lack of a better term, cool. If I only saw this movie during my sword and sorcery teen phase…
The Head Hunter is one of those movies with a minimal number of actors, one. Christopher Rygh was excellent as our bearded warrior and a lot of the atmosphere depended on his good performance. I’m sure we will be seeing a lot more of him in the future. However, I should also mention that locations we will be visiting along with the hunter’s house are legitimate actors too. They play an important role in setting up the atmosphere and the mood of the movie.
Finally, if you’re looking for movies like this one, I recommend you check out The 13th Warrior, The Last Witch Hunter and Solomon Kane. Nicolas Winding Refn’s Valhalla Rising starring Mads Mikkelsen might be a good choice as it also features a similar type of atmosphere. I also can’t help mentioning both hilarious and entertaining Erik the Viking.
Director: Jordan Downey
Writers: Kevin Stewart, Jordan Downey
Cast: Christopher Rygh, Cora Kaufman, Aisha Ricketts
Fun Facts: The main location for the movie was a 200 year old stone grain mill, once used for grinding wheat into flour.