By: Nathan Peterson
Starring: Otto Jespersen, Hans Morten Hansen, Thomas Alf Lasrsen, Johanna Morck
So straight off the bat I have a confession to make. I love the found footage genre. I know they aren’t cool, their star is definitely fading and partially because of the over-saturation that the market has seen since Paranormal Activity was released in 2007. Also, I will admit that some of the films released since then haven’t exactly been stellar (The Last Exorcism, I am looking at you!) but does that mean they are all worth dismissing? Not in this guy’s opinion.
Case in point Troll Hunter. For those of you not in the know, this Norwegian film (originally titled Trolljegeren) follows a group of university students who set about making a documentary about a bear poacher. Soon it becomes clear that something suspicious is going on, including the behaviour of the film’s subject, Hans, who keeps peculiar hours, moving from camp site to camp site in a battered trailer containing strange items. Without wanting to give too much away, the students eventually catch up to Hans who allows them film him as he tracks the very real trolls.
The whole movie is seen from the students’ point of view, with the footage all being captured as they try to keep the documentary rolling even in the most terrifying of conditions. Now as I have said before, these movies interest me greatly, even if they all fall into the same trap of keeping the camera running, when most normal people would be….well, running. And Troll Hunter is no different to that. There are definitely scenes where you question the likelihood of whether a normal person would still be recording, but this is a movie after all and a leap of faith is needed.
So what did I like in particular? Well for starters, the subject matter. As you will probably know, the found footage genre has mainly been reserved for horror movies, given that the low budgets and shaky-cam images increase the suspense and terror. Troll Hunter, whilst containing some elements of horror, doesn’t really fit the whole horror description. In fact it is a little difficult to pigeon hole the film at all, but if I had to give it a tag, I suppose fantasy.
As with horror, the shaky-cam effect works well in Troll Hunter, with the beasts being only glimpsed through trees, or on night vision, to delay the tension and drama of some of the scenes. Also, for a film of this budget, the special effects are pretty decent, and whilst I would never try to argue that this film might leave you questioning if trolls are real, the monsters look good and you can see that an effort has been made to make each breed look distinct and have their own personality.
On a negative, the acting in Troll Hunter won’t blow anyone away, although Otto Jespersen who plays the burnt-out troll hunter Hans, does a fairly good job of being mysterious, humble and courageous. The kids who play the students (Tosterad, Morck and Larsen) do ok, but at times they act a little too goofy, especially considering they have just discovered that these fairy tale creatures are real.
Overall, Troll Hunter is an enjoyable flick, and whilst it won’t make it into many people’s Top 100, it is worth checking out for a fun couple of hours, especially so if you get it on Blu-Ray as the final scene deserves a big crisp screen! Oh and just in case it needs mentioning, the film is in Norwegian and has subtitles. So if that doesn’t interest you then you may want to wait for Chris Columbus’ US remake. Don’t want anyone sending a Ringlefinch my way, after all.
3.5 out of 5