It starts promisingly enough, with olden tymes Viking dudes chopping up some foes with swords and -- my favorite death-implement -- hybrid sledgehammer/pickaxe thingies. The action pauses to focus on each Viking, throwing their names up on screen, one by one, pro-wrestling-meets-Glamour-Shots-style. They are called "Jokul," "Hagen," "Steinar" and "Grim." HOW CAN YOU GO WRONG WITH A GUY NAMED "GRIM" IN YOUR MOVIE?
Quite wrong, it turns out, because you can become instantly dull and lackluster if you believe in yourself and try hard enough to ruin everything. Here's how:
1. Make sure your nonsense premise involves the dying Viking king's son (that would be Steinar, played by Charlie Hewley of the Twilight films) having to brave fierce bands of Saxons on his journey to fetch his long-lost warrior brother, the only man valiant and violent enough to really battle the Saxons. Huh?
2. Stop the action a lot to sit around and talk instead of just killing everything all the time. And by talk I mean mumble. Then go, "AAAAUUUGGGHHH!" before you run through someone with your sword.
3. When you mumble, be sure to use a lot of 9th century expressions like "Go f*&% yourself." But keep it real. Nobody gets to say, "In your face!" or "Boom!" That would be clearly incorrect.
4. When running through someone with your sword, make sure the point of impact is rarely seen. This will soothe the ratings board and keep your audience confused. See, they thought they paid their money to indulge in a cruddy, exploitive, grindhousey, blood-soaked, anti-moral bit of slaughtery awesomeness. But once you disorient them they won't know how they're supposed to feel. They might even walk out thinking your film was not too boring.
5. Battle thine enemies to dubstep. Who needs brutal Viking-themed metal like Amon Amarth? That would only require cash layouts for licensing agreements. Blobby, anonymous dubstep is way better for a squib-spraying Viking battle, I think we can all agree.
6. Cover them with mud and faux feces as needed, but most extras should still look reasonably sexy and less convincingly period than the character actor warriors in those Alec Baldwin Capital One commercials.
7. Turn legendary Norse berserker "Ivar the Boneless" into a bawdy, leering, Benny Hill-inspired pederast. Then, since he is a legendary Norse berserker, make sure he dies at the hands of someone he could have easily vanquished.
8. Forget about all that essential Viking doom. You want to keep your languishing-in-obscurity options open and never even attain cult film status.
9. Above all else, work extra hard to instill nagging disappointment in your audience so that they spend the last hour of the film's 100 minutes craving the sweet, weird embrace of Valhalla Rising, the very movie they will re-watch later to put the taste of metallic blood back into their thirsty mouths.