The Head Hunter – USA, 2018

The Head Hunter – formerly The Head – is a 2019 American fantasy horror feature film directed by Jordan Downey (ThanksKilling and ThanksKilling 3; short: Craw Lake) from a screenplay co-written with Kevin Stewart. The Detention Films production stars Christopher Rygh.

Plot:

On the outskirts of a kingdom, a quiet but fierce medieval warrior protects the realm from monsters and the occult. His gruesome collection of heads is missing only one – the monster that killed his daughter years ago. Driven by a thirst for revenge, he travels wild expanses on horseback, using sorcery to aid in his quest. When his second chance arrives, it’s in a way far more horrifying than he ever imagined…

Release:

The Head Hunter premiered at the Sitges Film Festival in 2018, and played at Fantasporto in Portugal this year. Vertical Entertainment will release the movie in select US theaters and on VOD from April 5, 2019.

Reviews:

“The downside to the film’s low budget is that much of the action takes place off-screen. It’s only towards the end that we get to the meat, literally and figuratively, of the Viking’s revenge. That being said, there’s still a lot to appreciate here, even if a lot of the “action” is relegated to watching the Viking prepare his healing elixir – it’s rather gross – or take care of chores around his home.” Jonathan Barkan, Dread Central

The Head is a sharp departure from the Thankskilling films, and it proves that these gentlemen can make a lean and mean little creature feature without being silly or campy about it […] The Head exists in its own universe alongside some of the greatest horror/fantasy epics of the modern era. I would personally love to see this universe expanded and I think it has that kind of potential.” Andy Breslow, Fear Forever

“There is very little dialogue and no narration to fill the viewer in on the warrior’s actions. But that only adds to the somber tone of the film. The terrific score, creature effects, and beautiful landscape (shot on location in Portugal) do a tremendous job keeping the audience hooked and propelling the action forward. This concept might not work with a longer film, but the brisk 72-minute runtime helps avoid viewer fatigue.” Shawn Pacheco, Horror Geek Life

With its grubby, lived-in production design, its astonishing, desaturated locations and its  perfectly sustained intensity of mood, Jordan Downey’s film is like Trollhunter (2010) mixed with Valhalla Rising (2009) […] All this makes a simple-seeming, almost one-handed, nearly dialogue-free film resonate deeply with a complicated and disturbing subtext. Atmospheric as all hell, too.” Anton Bitel, Projected Figures

“Downey and his skeleton crew succeed in making the most out of the film’s low budget, thanks to the film’s wonderful visual design and beautiful cinematography work that makes the most of the impressive views and scenery. But despite all its achievements, The Head ultimately fails to fulfill its promise because, simply, the script is not good enough.” Guillem Rosset, Screen Anarchy

Filming locations:

  • Mammoth Lakes, California
  • Norway
  • Portugal

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