Director – André Øvredal
Cast – Otto Jespersen, Glenn Erland Tosterud, Tomas Alf Larsen, Johanna Mørck, Hans Morten Hansen
Release Year – 2010
Reviewed by John of the Dead
This is a film that I immediately had my heart set on watching after I first read of this Norwegian horror film, mainly because it seemed as if it would give me a creature feature focusing on something rarely used in the genre…trolls. It has been a long while since we have received a positive troll film, and no Troll 2 does not count, Ernest Scared Stupid does though, and that accompanied with the film’s realistic documentary-esque style of filmmaking had me stoked that this would be a full-frontal approach to the creatures, and it was. With superb visuals, direction, and an awesome storyline, The Troll Hunter is a film I heavily enjoyed.
Three college students embark on a mission to film a documentary-style film about a series of mysterious bear killings plaguing a small Norwegian town. At first they are lead to believe a local man is poaching the bears, but after following him around during his nightly escapades they learn the true meaning behind the man’s mysterious ways: he is hunting gigantic trolls. Seeing the potential behind a film proving the existence of Norway’s mythical beasts, the crew tags along with the troll hunter and eventually find themselves face-to-face with a danger they never expected.
Don’t you just love it when you go into a film 99% sure that you are going to love it? That was the case with me, and I could have been totally wrong predicting my enjoyment, but I’m happy as hell that I was right. The idea of focusing the film on trolls was a great one in my opinion, and I assume it came naturally for Norwegian writer/director Andre Ovredal given the country’s folklore regarding trolls. I have remained iffy on the documentary-esque style of filming that has gained a strong footing in the genre with films like Cloverfield, Paranormal Activity, Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon, and many other films, but I did not balk at the idea of it being used in this film given I feel it was the most appropriate approach to giving us a full-frontal experience of killer-troll/troll-killing carnage. If you know me then you know I love watching nosy people get what they deserve, and that was the case with these young college students following the man they believe to be a poacher illegally killing bears and then find themselves in a world a trouble. Thankfully, they took the trouble in stride and figured they should ride it out and see what happens. We are given constant developments throughout the film’s 99 minute runtime, and Ovredal’s story takes the viewer into consideration and answers most of the questions you may have regarding the story as things progress. It is learned that the troll hunter is in fact working for a secret government agency faced with the task of eradicating the trolls that have apparently crossed from their own territory and onto human territory, which has resulted in massive environmental damage and of course human lives as well. For a film about a college film crew following a troll hunter I did not expect the story to be so smart, but we were graced with many sweet ideas and developments including how UV light is used to kill trolls, resulting in them either exploding or turning to stone, as well as how seemingly-normal power lines are in fact fences to keep trolls away from populated areas. This isn’t a pretentious Oscar-worthy screenplay, but it did a darn good job of selling the story to me and keeping me engaged.
Ovredal’s direction is equally great, and his execution of the documentary-style filmmaking was superb. He failed to deliver any nausea-inducing camera work or any otherwise annoying shots, and I was very appreciative of that. Some may see this style of filming as cheap, and while I understand that claim I will say that Ovredal handled the filming in a professional manner. Because this was filmed in the always beautiful Norway we are given numerous scenes of the country’s incredible landscape that consisted of captivating views that not only brought me into the film visually but showed just how dense and large the forests are, which naturally provided the perfect cover for trolls to stroll about without too many locals noticing. Now you must be wondering how well the trolls were used right? Well, simply put: they were incredible. Naturally we were not given any live-action trolls given they were at least 30 feet tall and this film didn’t have Jurassic Park’s budget or Spielberg as director, but I will say that the CGI for the film is positive and delivered what I wanted to see, lots of troll action. We are given different types of trolls of all shapes and sizes, all boiling down to a final standoff between a troll of massive proportions. The film’s climax is a bit of a cliffhanger, but the film’s opening sequence and final sequence will explain exactly why it concluded in such a wary, and it works for this awesome Norwegian horror film.
Overall, The Troll Hunter is a fantastic horror film that gives us a great story involving an element seldom used in the genre these days: trolls. Along with the captivating story comes great filming from writer/director Andre Ovredal as he delivers a fantastic job executing the film, a film guaranteed to give you what you are looking for as long as it consists of great troll action.