Troll Hunter (2011)
Reviewed by Kalebson
Starring Otto Jespersen, Glenn Erland Tosterud, Johanna Mørck, Tomas Alf Larsen
Directed by André Øvredal
‘No trolls were harmed during the making of this film.’
Stomping its way into Sundance 2011 from Magnet Releasing is Troll Hunter by André Øvredal. This refreshing “mockumentary” brings new life to the genre with its inventive perspective on folklore loosely based on an early 18th century Norwegian book similar to Grimm’s Fairy Tales. With so many “found footage” entries into the genre recently, we can give praise to Øvredal for effectively making one worth watching with its breathtaking scenery and fantastic effects.
The premise is that 283 hours of lost footage is found and after some investigation is proven to be authentic. Shot in the same “shaky-cam” style as The Blair Witch Project and Cloverfield, the story follows a group of three college students (Tosterud, Mørck, and Larsen) investigating a series of bear attacks. The group also discovers that there is an alleged poacher involved and decides to follow him for a confession. After finding his smelly trailer and seeing his shredded Land Rover, our trio knows they have to get an interview with this guy, who is only known as Hans (Otto Jespersen).
Hans is not forthcoming with any information and is certainly not happy with being filmed. All of this changes one night when they follow Hans into the woods only to discover that he is not hunting bears. After a close call with a troll, Hans decides to allow the group to follow him while he “works”. Much more is uncovered while they film Hans in the field, including a government conspiracy to cover up the bear attacks and keep people from finding out that there are trolls in Norway.
The story flows well as the actors are very natural in their roles. Nothing is forced or over-dramatized. We learn a lot as the tale progresses - the different types of trolls, including the Tosserlad, Rimetosser, The Mountain King and the mother of all trolls, the Jotnar, standing 300-400 feet tall. We know what they eat (stone and charcoal). We know their strengths and their weaknesses. So much detail is given that by the end of the film you almost believe they are real. The effects of course make this all the more tangible as the trolls fill the entire screen with their ugliness. The sound effects at the same time shook the entire theatre, giving even more life to these mythical creatures.
Many will try to compare Troll Hunter to films like Cloverfield, but this is a very different beast. As a matter of fact, it’s better in so many ways. The painstaking attention to detail involved is tremendous if almost overwhelming. With all of its suspense, laughs, and drama, the film deserves to be placed in its own category. The entire audience must have agreed as there was a standing ovation following the film and then a Q&A with Øvredal and Tosterud. If you get an opportunity to see this, TAKE IT! You will not be disappointed.
4 out of 5
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