Troll Hunter (2011)

TR1

When a college documentary crew goes in search of an unknown bear poacher killing off the bear population in Scandinavia they come across a man who does much more than kill bears, he kills trolls. Filmed in handheld camera documentary style.

Trolls are another one of those creatures that get a really bad reputation undeservedly. Yeah, they’ll kill humans if a human gets in their way, but it’s not like they are out there hunting humans or anything. They just try and live their lives out in the middle of the woods hunting goats and bears and sheep and yes, the occasional wandering human, but so what. It’s only when said human enters an area she or he should stay away from that they end up part of the troll digestive process. Bigfeet eat humans and you don’t ever hear about them negatively do you? This is of course because you sweaty meatbags seem to think Bigfeet are somehow cute just because they walk upright and have those big old baby blues to stare you down with.   Trolls on the other hand don’t look quite as cute, nor do they seem to be as loving as the great ape known as Sasquatch (one story about some Bigfeet family loving on a guy and everyone thinks they must be so nice…forget the flesh eating). Whether you love Bigfoot or Troll kind, I will tell you one thing for sure, in a debate about which Star Wars movie is better, trolls are always the better pick since Bigfeet don’t watch movies.

Our Trolling adventure (couldn’t resist) begins with a group of college know-it-alls heading out in search of a mysterious bear hunter who seems to be killing off Norwegian bears without anyone even noticing. This is of course right after the standard “We found this tape lying in the woods blah, blah, blah” scenario, nothing you aren’t used to. The small group of three has decided to film a documentary about the out of control bear hunter and the devastation he is causing across the country since many other animals seem to get in his way before he finally gets to whichever bear he happens to be chasing at the moment. They eventually do manage to catch up with the hunter only to discover it isn’t actually bears the man hunts but trolls of every shape and size. Figuring that trailing a killer of trolls would be much more exciting than following some crazy old bear hunter, the students document the troll hunter’s job to exterminate the nasty little creatures from the face of the Earth…or at least the face of Scandinavia. As the group learns the ins and outs of killing trolls, they also learn the scope of this one man’s operation, and why there are so very few people willing to participate.

TR6

{A group of troll hunters if I ever saw one}

This was yet again one of those movies I really wasn’t sure about when I sat down to watch it. I haven’t been too impressed with the whole first person handheld camera thing; in fact I’ve been damn disappointed for the most part, usually leaving the film with a headache and more than a bit of nausea. Normally if a film style doesn’t work for me I just don’t watch it (i.e. Italian Giallo, can’t stand it so I don’t watch it, simple as that) but there have been a few films that did well with the faux documentary style such as Death of a Ghost Hunter, The Last Exorcism, and as much as I hate the film itself, even Paranormal Activity, so I haven’t completely given up on the relatively new genre just yet. The other thing that bothered me going into the movie was the whole troll scenario, the last troll movie I saw was Troll 2 and I don’t think I need to explain further for anyone that’s seen that piece of garbage (if you haven’t seen it, consider yourself lucky). I’m happy to say that not only are the trolls here taken to completely new levels but the camera work is spot on and a credit to the handheld genre.

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{Troll 2 in all its glory}

Let’s start with the trolls first since they are obviously the stars of this film. I was immensely impressed with how much thought was put into creating these giant creatures. I expected your standard troll fare, just ugly little things wandering through the woods, but what they came up with is worlds different than anything I’ve ever seen…think Tolkien on steroids for a more accurate idea. I really don’t want to describe them because I don’t want to give anything away (though I will give you a picture just to wet your appetite), especially that moment when you get to see your first troll, so I’m just going to say some major imagination went into their design. Not only are they well imagined but they are also well created for the screen and look great, some of the best CGI creatures I’ve seen in a while and for those out there who hate all things CGI, trust me, these things couldn’t have been created any other way.

TR2

{And the troll’s scale can be truly epic}

The great writing doesn’t end with the trolls but extends into the story and characters as well. The story goes in directions I honestly didn’t see coming, not necessary twists or turns, but just places I thought were completely original for a film of this type. The greatest thing is that it never actually gets ridiculous, a story about hunting giant trolls and it was taken with more seriousness than any of the Saw films, and the little hints dropped about actual troll legends added a great deal to the story. The characters also worked perfectly for their roles, never coming across as cheesy or overly in your face. Of course, well written characters mean nothing if they aren’t portrayed by great actors, no worries here because these actors are awesome. They all do an amazing job and really help you believe in what’s going on around them, as if you might really be watching some mysteriously found documentary film. The actual troll hunter is easily the best, and his reason for letting the kids tag along was so simple and yet so wonderful I couldn’t help but love it. The college kids themselves do a wonderful job too, growing as the film goes on. When the movie starts out they are all arrogant, full of themselves, everything is a joke type of people but by film’s end they have matured enough to have rid themselves completely of this previous thought pattern and become adults on a quest to discover the truth behind the unbelievable.

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{Going into strange caves is a sure fire way to build character}

There was still one thing that could have completely torn this film apart and it’s the documentary style filmmaking, thankfully that wasn’t the case. The camera is never overly shaky thanks to a great and simple story element, they added a professional camera man (same reason I enjoyed The Last Exorcism). This simple addition made for a steady camera experience that held true through most of the film, no one is going to be running away and still have a steady camera but even these running scenes don’t get too nauseating thanks to the short periods you are forced to deal with it. They might run for a bit but they stop and hide fairly quickly. Another thing that made this just a bit above the standard fake documentary fare is the fact that these guys actually take a little bit longer to stare at the monsters coming at them. Most of the time in these films you get a quick glimpse before someone takes off, but here they go out of their way to film as much as possible, even finding angles where they can hide and film perfectly so you get to see a whole lot more than you normally would. There was only one thing about the camera work that bothered me and it’s a bit toward the end where the camera becomes damaged and the lens cracked. For the purpose of realism they have to use this camera for a bit since it’s their only one, and I get the idea they were going with, but looking through a cracked lens for any longer than five minutes just becomes quickly annoying.

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{Thankfully for us the lighting is great, for the trolls, not so much}

This one little complaint should not nearly be enough to deter anyone from watching Troll Hunter. It’s an amazing flick that will leave you pleasantly surprised, tingle your imagination, and, in some cases, even blow you away.

 

The Undead Review

 

Directed By: Andre Ovredal (Future Murder)

Starring: Otto Jespersen (Odd Little Man), Glenn Erland Tosterud (Orange Girl), Johanna Morck (Fritt vilt II), and Tomas Alf Larsen (Fritt vilt II, Cold Prey)

Released By: Magnet Releasing and Filmkameratene A/S

Release Year: 2011

Release Type: Limited Theatrical Release

MPAA Rating: PG-13

About The Undead Review

When I was alive I was an asshole and after I died remained pretty much the same, if not a little worse. You’d think becoming a member of the walking dead would mellow a person out, no more worrying about awkward small talk with people, no more having to be politically correct, and the entire world is your upright, bipedal buffet. Don’t get me wrong, it’s fun as hell to be a zombie, just somewhat irritating at times, especially those times you have to watch a lame movie or read a lame book. Thankfully, when I am forced to watch these films or read those books, I’ve got places like The Undead Review to bitch and moan to my heart’s content. {When he’s not devouring the living or sinking his teeth into a good film The Undead Review (Andy Taylor) spends his time writing his own stories or hunting down the paranormal. Oh, and did we mention his blind dog once saved the world?)
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2 Responses to Troll Hunter (2011)

  1. I really like this observation you made: “it never actually gets ridiculous … and the little hints dropped about actual troll legends added a great deal to the story.” I wrote a short essay on Troll Hunter called “The Christian Knight.” If you would like to read it, here is the link: https://21stcenturyfilms.wordpress.com/2015/04/06/troll-hunter/

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