movie film review | chris tookey

TrollHunter/ Trolljegeren

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  TrollHunter/ Trolljegeren Review
Tookey's Rating
6 /10
Average Rating
6.21 /10
Otto Jespersen , Glenn Erland Tosterud, Hans Morten Hansen
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Directed by: Andre Ovredal
Written by: Andre Ovredal

Released: 2010
Origin: Norway
Colour: C
Length: 103

Likeable creature feature.
Reviewed by Chris Tookey

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TrollHunter is inspired by a literally fabulous idea. Three Norwegian students are making an amateur documentary about provincial bear-poaching when they stumble across a foul-smelling man living in a trailer.

Hans (played with deadpan earnestness by comedian Otto Jespersen) wants nothing to do with the trio at first, but can’t resist letting them in on his top-secret career, ridding Norway of gigantic trolls that have escaped their nature reserves and are running amok across the picturesque landscape.

Sceptical at first, the students encounter a three-headed Tosserlad, then a ferocious Ringlefinch, a lair full of noxiously flatulent Mountain Kings, and finally the biggest and noisiest of them all, a Jotnar.

Writer-director Andre Ovendal makes good use of the magnificent Scandinavian countryside, with its dark, sinister forests and barren, snow-covered mountains. Much of the entertainment value lies in the way the characters piece together information about the species as they go along, together with the rules of how to deal with them.

I also enjoyed Hans’ matter-of-fact air in dealing with the monstrous beasts. He’s just another underpaid, grumpy government employee.

The special effects are jerky, but better than you would expect from a low-budget Norwegian movie. The trolls are creepy, and in a way rather sad. They’re like huge, rampaging toddlers, obviously representatives of a dying breed.

There are plans for a Hollywood remake, and it’s easy to see how it could improve on the original.

The script could have been much funnier in playing with old fairy-tales (like Shrek), the quirkiness of the monsters (as in Ghostbusters) and the management of cover-ups (like Men in Black). The direction might have created more tension and made the attacks truly terrifying, as Spielberg did in Jurassic Park.

The unimaginative framing device – the footage has supposedly been “found” and was shot by people who have not survived – has been used too many times before, first in Cannibal Holocaust (1980), but most memorably in The Blair Witch Project and Cloverfield.

Nor are the actors top-quality. The young characters’ reactions when one of them is killed are unconvincing. The mostly improvised screenplay lets them down too; surely at this point they would be anxious to go home, inform the family of the deceased and cash in on their scoop, not embark on yet another troll hunt?

But even though it falls short of its potential, TrollHunter deserves to be a cult success. It is undeniably a fantastic achievement on a budget of under two million pounds. And it’s fun.

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