A medieval warrior’s gruesome collection of heads is missing only one - the monster that killed his daughter years ago.
Starring: Christopher Rygh, and Cora Kaufman
Directed by: Jordan Downey
Written by: Kevin Stewart, Jordan Downey
Sometimes you want to see a horror movie just based on the title. You don’t need to know what it’s about because the name just sparks your imagination, and the possibilities to come. “The Head Hunter” had my head spinning with all the wonderful horrors that could come from that title. So the question is... did it live up to the title?
First, it’s good to see a movie in the olden days because it changes things up, and gives the audience a new environment to take in. The lonely warrior (Christopher Rygh) lives in a home that looks nice, but has some interesting decorations (more on that soon). He tries to keep busy, but there is clearly something that is on his mind. Apparently he lost his daughter to a monster, and is taking out his anger and grief on all the monsters in the area until he finds the one who killed her.
Once he kills a monster, or two it’s easy to get anxious to actually see this happen, instead of him just coming back with the head. Yes, admittedly I was hoping for a few good monster fights, but there’s really only one fight which isn’t a grand production. While somewhat disappointed I can appreciate the direction they take, and they made it work. Instead of the fights, they build on the daily life of the warrior, and give more and more information about how he goes about finding and killing the monsters. It’s pieced together well, and manages to leave a little mystery out there.
So if the audience doesn’t get monster kills, at least it gets to see him spike a few heads on the wall (yup the aforementioned decorations). When he finally finds the monster that killed his daughter, it might seem like this is going to be the fight the audience is waiting, but it’s not. He comes back victorious again with another head, and the movie is over. No, it’s time for a little twist, and something happens that won’t be spoiled here. A few of the things that are shown to the audience before come into play, and it extends the life of the film. The real beauty of it is what happens at the end, and how the title of the film really comes to light.
A final credit goes to Christopher for pulling off this character. He doesn’t have a lot of lines because the movie is so story driven, but he has to say a lot with his actions. He does well at playing the anger warrior, but never lets the audience forget he’s mourning the death of his daughter. Christopher brings out the everyday struggle the warrior goes through, and the eagerness to kill the next monster on his list. Never have I been so sad for a warrior!
So yes, “The Head Hunter” lives up to its title, but not in the way I imagined. Yes, once it’s clear the story is about a warrior killing monsters I wanted nothing less than to see him decapitate a few of them. However, it also becomes clear that this movie is more about the story and set up to the twist, than showing off their special effects skill. Maybe it’s his grief, but there’s something that will keep the audience watching his journey even without the blood bath. In the end, it pays off and if the audience looks at the title and thinks about what just happened it should bring an extra little smile to their faces. With that, I give it 3.5 pools of monster head blood!
*Showing as a Shudder exclusive