Troll Hunter is a rather excellent documentary on the role of the troll hunter in modern day Norway. Put together using footage from a group of missing college students you’ll learn about the different types of troll, such as the Ringlefinch, Tosserlad and Mountain Kings, how to keep them at bay, that three billy-goats on a bridge really do attract trolls and how their territories are controlled by the Troll Security Service…
Obviously, there are a few genre clichés there but I’ll admit to having a bit of a soft spot for “found footage” films, even stuff like The Blair Witch Project and The Last Broadcast but don’t write me off because of that. They are released onto a public with the full knowledge that they are works of fiction but at their core they spark the imagination in different ways to other films or media. They can be the kernel or embryo of ongoing, modern day, fairy tales and Troll Hunter is no different.
Troll Hunter does a very good job of taking an existing “allegedly” fantasy creature – in this case trolls, surprisingly enough – and brings it into the present with the back-story of a trio of college film-makers on the hunt for a rogue bear hunter. Obviously, and even the DVD cover blows the mystique a little, they find a lot more than they bargained for.
Luckily, the film gets over the clichéd “What’s hunting us through the trees? Let’s run like idiots!” relatively early on in the film and opens up into much more than I expected as the story develops and you learn about the life of a disgruntled troll hunter and of the trolls that lurk in modern day Norway. It has humour and tension in almost equal measures and Otto Jesperson holds everything together well as Hans the troll hunter whilst Glenn Erland Tosterud, Johanna Mørck and Tomas Alf Larsen, playing the student film makers, were spot on in their roles and despite being the “screamy teens with no real clue what they’re up against”, weren’t overly annoying, either, which in this type of film is very good!
The effects are good for a low budget film and only falter a couple of times. The trolls might appear a tad cartoony for some yet are still menacing. The backdrop of the Norwegian countryside is amazing, though, and adds to the fairy tale aura that the film creates.
There’s also a pretty cool scientific explanation for why trolls turn to stone and explode in sunlight as well as obligatory troll-fart humour! Overall I was impressed with Troll Hunter and highly recommend it.