By: Justin Hopkins
** SPOILER WARNING**
I saw this movie pop up on Tubi TV quite a few months back and for some odd reason, kept pushing it back. Each time I was going to watch, would push it back for some other reason, but that is the point of the last few weeks. To catch up on the movies on my list and now was the time to scratch off this one. Let’s dive into this ninth century film has to offer and discuss shall we.
We start off by a man being chased in the woods, by an unseen enemy. As he fall, we jump to a woman, Runa, hunting a deer. Flashing back, to when she was a little girl. Learning how to use a bow from her Dad, before jumping back to her downing the deer. She lives in a small shack with her Sister, Mother, and blind Grandfather. Their Father has been gone for two years on a raid, and his absence still weighs heavily on them. Particularly, Runa, who is compared to him twice. Once by her dreams and another by the way she loves her bow and arrow. Each time effecting her. When she finds out her Mother is selling her Father’s horse. She storms off on a fishing trip. Where she falls asleep. Having a nightmare and when she wakes up. Finds herself in the lake. On her way out, finds a flock of dead birds on the lakeside. Her sister pried at her for more, but shifted the conversation back to Dad. Which Runa snapped a bit. Saying he was not coming back or dead. Which angers her Mother. Sparking into a bigger argument later. With Her Mother believing he pretty much left them to rot. Ending with Runa leaving to go on a hunt. Meeting up with her Grandfather. Confiding in him about her dream and the birds. Believing that they might be an omen. He tells her it was probably nothing and to not looking at them so hard or she would see omens in everything. Back on the hunt, she finds an injured warrior. Bringing them back home and after guilt tripping her Mother. They begin to aide him back to health. When he comes to days later, tells the Grandfather, that he rode with the Dad and that he was alive as a weeks ago. Everyone gathering around, listening to him tell the tale of his men out looting, coming across gold rings attached to buried bodies. That they took, but the next day. The group begins to turn on one another and he would have died if it wasn’t for their Dad. Who said for him to meet him here. As his strength returns, begins to help with chores. Teaching Runa to fight with an axe, and than, the Dad returns to a joyous ovation, and while Runa seems happy. Can sort of see her upset at the same time, but soon becomes clear that they evil they faced and committed. Has followed the Dad home and that is where I will leave it for now.
This is a very slow build of a movie. It really takes it’s time to get to where it is going. Setting up the relationship and characters, over building the incoming threat. Not that there is an issue or anything. Lets you care about the everyone and this small family who are struggling to get by. Only when it finally does get to the action and horror that it is described to be, the movie is over. Only, that is sort of the problem.
When you read the description and what this is about. It reads that this is going to be horror and action and woman is going to rise above it and meet them head on, and that isn’t really how this plays out and if you going in thinking that is going be how things happens. You will not have a good time. While, I don’t want to hold that against them, even the art for it, paints it as such. Such, yeah it hurts it just a little bit.
For starter, they just kind of throw the fact the warriors who show up, are the undead warriors who were killed the day after they found the gold. Instead of the story unveiling it a little more naturally. Just thrown in their as a bit of monologue when they show up, and can’t even tell because she cuts the first one down with an arrow to the chest.
The cinematography is fantastic though. From the setting on the little shack and the shots of her in the woods. The sounds and music at the town fire scene were great. My only real grief were some quick cuts toward the end, but understandable since it was a chase scene, with arrows flying. It was a beautifully shot movie all around.
Moa Enqvist Stefansdotter and Ralf Beck really stole the spotlight as Runa and Ragnvald, the grandfather. Each really bringing out the best their characters really had to offer and loved their scenes together. Really believed that Moa could take down anyone with her bow to protect her family and Ragnvald’s sacrifice was heartbreaking. Viva Ostervall Lyngbrant was alright as the bubbly Bothild. Playing her role well enough to be meaningful for when she meets her shocking end.
It really was a shock when Bothild died, in the way that she did. Actually had to do a bit of a double take, because I thought it was the Mother who was cutdown, and changed the tempo completely, because I was not expecting that to happen. Expect Runa to lose it and go on the attack during the next phase of attack. Using the skills she was taught with the ax and her bow, and when it doesn’t really happen like that. It makes it a bit anti-climactic.
This was a slow burn of a movie, that had some really good characters and great settings, but wasn’t really a movie for myself. So, it wouldn’t be high up on my list of movies to suggest, but if you are into slow burn films that center on those kind of deals. You may have a great time with The Huntress: Runes Of The Dead. So, I am not going to give it a straight up skip, but just know what you are getting yourself into with it.
As always, I hope you enjoy and…
Thank You For Reading.