Generally favorable reviews - based on 15 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 9 out of 15
  2. Negative: 2 out of 15
  1. When it comes to crazy, violent, semidelirious, testosterone-laden, proto-Viking tales about a mute visionary one-eyed warrior who breaks skulls, Valhalla Rising is pretty great.
  2. Reviewed by: Kim Newman
    Valhalla Rising gets into your mind and stays there. You can argue what, if anything, it's trying to say, but it is impressive cinema.
  3. Director Nicolas Winding Refn, the prankster of last year's "Bronson," has never reduced his craft to such a sledgehammer of minimalism. Electric guitars drone on the soundtrack, bones crunch, and a mystical religiosity gathers around One-Eye; there's a midnight cult here for those who yearn for one.
  4. 80
    Lots of movies about the Middle Ages can do the mud and blood -- though we sure see a lot of both here -- but in this movie it's like Refn has ripped you out of time and dropped you there.
  5. It's a trip into a primordial world and primeval sensibilities, and if you're looking to shake off the mall-movie blahs, there are few better places to look.
  6. 75
    Valhalla Rising has the misfortune of starting with its best chapter and steadily growing more ponderous from there, dragged down by a religious theme that's as thin as the filmmaking is relentlessly spare. Yet it's a beautiful head trip, too.
  7. Reviewed by: Peter Brunette
    One is hard-pressed to imagine who the audience might be for this actually quite mesmerizing film. Its violence is way too intense for the art film crowd, and its glacial pacing and fascination with brooding on nothing will surely alienate those who've come for the blood and guts.
  8. The Viking saga Valhalla Rising, from the brutally stylish Danish filmmaker Nicolas Winding Refn, has the bones of an action epic but the soul of something cultier.
  9. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Fascinating for its gonzo formal daring and brooding attitude, "Valhalla'' is still a trial for audiences seeking characters, plot, and things happening.
  10. 58
    There's almost nothing to grab onto. It's like a gorgeous graphic novel with a protagonist and story that vanish utterly from the mind as soon as the last page is turned.
  11. Reviewed by: Vadim Rizov
    Frequently dull and stupidly obvious, you nonetheless have to applaud the misguided ambition of Refn's career turn. If nothing else, as the metal guitars get louder and louder, the synergy between Viking imagery and the pagan-obsessed metal freaks it spawned has never been clearer.
  12. 50
    Mr. Refn, who can pull off stylish brutality (in the "Pusher" films and "Bronson" ), shows no knack for the kind of visionary, hallucinatory image making that would render Valhalla Rising memorable.
  13. Reviewed by: Derek Elley
    With very little dialogue, and even less plot, five chapter stops lend the movie a skeletal structure: "Wrath," "Silent Warrior," "Men of God," "The Holy Land" and "Hell." But any discussion of the Dark Ages conflict between paganism and Christianity is reduced to just grunts or insults.
  14. 38
    Visually striking but portentous and pretentious.
  15. 25
    Valhalla Rising is nothing more than an updated version of the kind of time-honored Hollywood Viking movie Kirk Douglas used to do in his sleep, which means lots of inhuman, bone-crunching violence and no plot.
User Score

Mixed or average reviews- based on 81 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 23
  2. Negative: 7 out of 23
  1. Oct 11, 2011
    Nicholas Winding Refn's "Valhalla Rising" is quite, suspenseful, profound, and powerful. Its a movie strongly for the sophisticated audiences due to its silent dialogue and mind blowing scenes. I actually liked the smart director for providing us such viking movie in a time of explosions and guns. Kudos!!! Full Review »
  2. Aug 27, 2010
    Viking movies used to mean horned helmets, Kirk Douglas, mead and fiery funerals at sea. This, however, is ultra brutal art house cinema with deliberately glacial pacing and an overwhelming sense of doom. Think intensely anti-Christian Tarkovsky on LSD in a blender full of blood and guts poured slowly over some of the most beautiful Nordic landscapes ever to grace a movie screen accompanied by the cold sounds of instrumental post-metal. I had almost no idea what was going on, but I was mesmerised the whole time. It is fringe, it is different, it is something you'll either love or hate. Full Review »
  3. [Anonymous]
    Jul 23, 2010
    Visually staggering, boldly brutal, a true form of art, Valhalla Rising may not be as action packed or character driven as many would hope, but still manages to suck you in and take you back to a time like this. It brings out the meaning of life while making us feel the ominous nature of the film. Full Review »