Trolls in Norway? Not the usual set-up for a movie, granted, but this funny, spooky at times film is brilliant, and a complete breath of fresh air using the ‘found-footage’ sub-genre to great effect. Oh and just so you know, it’s in subtitles.
The story centres ona group of college students from a small Norweigan town investigating a spate of mysterious bear killings out in the countryside. It is very much a mockumentary, as said students, led by ‘presenter’ Thomas set about interviewing local hunters and begin to track down Hans, played by Otto Jespersen, and meet the best character in the film.
He’s, at first, reluctant to let the students in on his secret vice, that rather than bears, he hunts trolls. This leads to the standout moment from the film, Hans screaming ‘TROLL!’, as can be seen in the trailer below. This really starts off the comedic values of the film, and, in a sense, it is a kickstart for the film itself, which suffers from a slowish start. Alas, the first encounter brings a sense of excitement with it, as the mythical creatures are unveiled, and to be honest, the CGI effects are pretty well done. Trolls are made to look humourous, yet aren’t completely ridiculous. In a way, they look like an offshoot of the ‘creatures’ in ‘Where the Wild Things Are’, not a bad thing in any sense.
As the movie progresses, the dark comedy is there as much as the horror, if not more so. Hans plays upto most of this, and with research by myself after the film, it wasn’t a real surprise to see he is a comedian! His character is strangely loveable, as the viewer relates to his decades spent on what must be the hardest job in the world. The surrounding students are in fear of the trolls AND Hans when they first meet him, but they too grow to love the strange old man, as he widens their horizons. Also a member of the TSS (Troll Security Service), who is technically Hans’ boss, Finn, is unwittingly the butt of a couple of brilliant comedic moments, showing the depths that the government go to, to hide the trolls.
Another thing I enjoyed, was the considerable backstories given to the trolls and the various different types of them (all of which have humourous names). They fart, they can be destroyed when exposed to UV light and they even have rabies. The various sizes also allowed for a nice variation as the characters encountered increasingly large beasts throughout the film. This culminates in a fantastic end sequence, in which the CGI really does well to create such a being.
The beautiful scenery of Norway adds to the depth of the film, with lovely little caves and exotic lakes being shown through the car windows, whilst the students and Hans travel to their next batch of trolls. It’s in direct contrast to the darkness of the film, and provides relief during sections of troll-busting. Another highlight was the very, very last scene where it turns out that the Norweigan PM has indeed revealed the existence of trolls, but none of the watching media realised it! It was a laugh-out-loud moment that the entire cinema enjoyed.
Infact, I only really had two negatives about the film. Number 1: the first 15 minutes are slow and not enough important stuff is shown to warrant any of it really. Number 2: the ending! It leaves the door wide open for the characters future, and does end rather abruptly too. I could’ve done with a further 5-10 minutes to tie it up nicely.
As it is, Troll Hunter is a brilliantly funny and dark film. It won’t be, and isn’t for most people, but me and my friends enjoyed it enough. Much better than I expected, and it had subtitles too!