Another one from the folksy heart of Norway. I give you Scandinavia’s answer to Cloverfield, Trolljegeren aka “Troll Hunter,” is despite its terrible SyFy Channel sounding name, one of the most exciting films ever made in the world of found footage. The suspense is palpable as we follow the routines of gruesome behemoths and even learn a little bit about Norwegian folklore along the way.
The film follows a trio of student filmmakers trying to make a documentary about a bear poacher in Western Norway. The bear poacher in question is a gruff man named Hans (Otto Jespersen), a cold trailer-dwelling loner. Absent almost every night, the group follows Hans into the woods to discover he isn’t poaching bears at all…. He’s hunting trolls.
First of all, I think anyone’s immediate gut reaction to this premise would be something around the lines of, “That sounds SO BAD.” Which is understandable. How many cheesy monster movies have a similar setup? Dumb ignorant people—usually teens—are warned by some old dude about some evil, and then said evil takes place. The difference here is how this ridiculous concept is handled from a technical and plotting standpoint. The acting is good, the story and mythology are highly engrossing, and the faux documentary approach makes it feel real. Not to mention Trollhunter is when it wants to be, pretty scary. Who would have thought a movie about trolls could be this scary?
The reason Trollhunter is so effective is because it goes for realism. Sure, there are three-headed trolls being turned turned into stone by UV rays, but they are well photographed. The trolls blend in well to their environment. The CGI isn’t amazing, but it’s well utilized, never overused. The effects interact well with the cast, resulting in an exhilarating experience. And speaking of the cast, I must tip my hat to Otto Jespersen who plays Hans. Hans embodies sheer badassery. Though what’s really interesting is in reality, Otto Jespersen is one of Norway’s most popular comedians. He’s like Will Ferrell over there. How he ended up playing a dead serious troll hunter is beyond me. Somehow it works, though. Check it out. Also, if this review seems familiar to you mildly pleased fans (Sean and Colin), it’s probably because I just rewrote my original blog review of Trollhunter from 2011. Ssh, don’t tell… The trolls will come for you. Which is a sweet, heavy metal lyric BTW.