The Head Hunter

Movie review by
Alistair Lawrence, Common Sense Media
The Head Hunter Movie Poster Image
Medieval fantasy movie has bloody violence and horror.
  • NR
  • 2019
  • 72 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Loss and revenge are central themes. A character fights for survival. The importance of family.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Father is motivated by avenging his daughter's death. He lives alone but cares for his horse and protects his home from monsters.

Violence

Heads on spikes, collected as trophies and kept as skulls. Fighting with weapons -- including stabbing, blood spray, and axes being swung at heads. Blood shown on swords and axes. Dead bodies and bloody wounds. Skeleton corpse comes back to life.

Sex

A character bathes themselves -- bare shoulders are visible.

Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Head Hunter is a medieval fantasy horror movie about a solitary bounty hunter, referred to as Father (Christopher Rygh) who is determined to avenge his daughter's murder. There is very little dialogue, but violence is both depicted and implied throughout. Father collects the heads of his attackers as trophies and keeps them as a collection of skulls. The fighting is bloody and often involves weapons -- knives and axes -- as Father defends his home from harmful, supernatural forces. Hacking, chopping, slicing, and blood-spray sound effects are used often to imply violence in the fights that take place off-screen. There are also demonic sound effects and noisy musical cues used to convey suspense and horror. Close-ups of Father's bloody wounds feature after his battles and he is shown in distress when treating his injuries. Father is also shown making an extensive collection of weapons, such as axes and stakes, with which to defend himself and his home, and kill his attackers.

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What's the story?

THE HEAD HUNTER follows a character known only as Father (Christopher Rygh) a medieval huntsman who lives alone and off of the land, grieving for his murdered daughter. His occasional battles with surrounding evil forces escalate when a more dangerous monster -- one of his daughter's murderers -- returns to the area.

Is it any good?

The most impressive thing about this movie is that it was made for only $30,000 and shot across two countries using minimal cast and crew. Channeling the windswept, wintry look of Game of Thrones, it creates a vivid sense of place on a budget. Rygh also does a good job carrying The Head Hunter with his portrayal of a grieving father who must also literally fight for survival.

What's lacking, though, is a stronger plot and proper explanation of the world in which the events unfold. Father spends barely any time consulting the texts that describe the occult and dark magic that presumably power the monsters, demons, and zombies that terrorize him and that are responsible for the death of his daughter.  As a result, the audience is left to do a lot of the heavy lifting when trying to follow what Father is doing and why. The short run time of just over 70 minutes adds to the lightweight feel. While clearly the work of several talented individuals, the end result is a frustrating watch. With a bit more of Father's voiceover for guidance, this could've been an indie gem that doesn't, in places, lose its head.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the violence in The Head Hunter. Do the blood and gore seem over the top? Do the violent scenes help tell the story in an effective way? Does the fact the violence takes place in a fantasy world change how you feel about it? Why? Does exposure to violent media desensitize kids to violence?

  • Discuss how grief is portrayed in the movie. Father finds it difficult to express his emotions about his daughter's death. How does losing someone you love affect different people in different ways? How can communication help? Why is it important to find someone to talk to when you feel upset about something?

  • The movie was made on a very limited budget with few characters and very little dialogue. Did you notice the difference between this movie and big-budget Hollywood blockbusters?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love fantasy horror

Themes & Topics

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