The Troll Hunter (2011)
|In Norway there are trolls. Not just a suitable tagline for this movie but words uttered by the Norwegian Prime Minister. This is why they have The Troll Hunter, Hans (Otto Jespersen), a government agent charged with keeping the troll population at bay. It’s a nasty job, a lonely job, with no paid overtime or bonus for unsociable hours. So when Hans is approached by a documentary film crew he agrees to let them film what he does because his story isn’t any fairy tale.
Troll Hunter is at its simplest a Blair Witch Project for Norway but with less snotty noses and more actual monster sightings. The problem with the documentary style is it doesn’t really help engage the viewer as much as perhaps Cloverfield did. The panic and fear I felt from watching Cloverfield didn’t find itself manifesting in me when watching the Troll Hunter.
Perhaps I shouldn’t be comparing this to anything else, but I fear looking at the film as itself will only lead to more negativity than it probably deserves. Starting off slowly as the documentary team led by Tomas (Glenn Erland Tosterud) try to establish what Hans actually is, we are treated to many in car shots and more of wandering around a dark wood. Creepy? Not at all, especially when out of the shadows comes Hans bellowing “TROLL!” that screamed Wrath of Kahn.
The pace barely picks up, if its possible, the film gets even slower as the team start to believe in trolls and they set out looking for more. The plot is thin at best, something is troubling the trolls and forcing them out of their habitat, Hans has to get a blood sample to a vet to figure out why this is happening.
There is a lovely scene where three goats are lined up on a bridge as bait for the troll but other than bringing back childhood memories it does little to offer a saving grace to the film. The climactic ending is dragged out, the inevitable death of characters isn’t helped when they’re hidden behind the camera the whole time meaning we have little change to care about them and the whole film lacked any real threat to either the characters or to the rest of the world.
I knew I’d sound negative. I shall try to look at the positives. There were a couple of times I chuckled, the Polish gang for instance and at the nervous dialogue between characters but again, not being able to see the actors emote in front of the camera, there was very little on screen to care about, in fact, I think I cared more about the goats being sacrificed or the trolls being killed than I did when the human was eaten.
This leads to a confusing topic, the trolls are seen as monsters, creatures to be kept at bay and the general population cannot know about them, the Troll Secret Service does its best to keep trolls a secret, hence the name I suppose. Yet Hans has developed feelings for the blighters, he had to massacre a whole heap load of trolls in the past and we’re meant to care. He killed babies, pregnant mothers, families which yes, if this was a World War 2 drama I would feel something for. But Hans is a “Troll Hunter”, it is his job to kill trolls. They are monsters, regardless of age or gender, race or creed he is paid to kill them. Yet despite giving us this heart-warming tale, Hans still shows no mercy for the beasts, rendering the whole point moot.
I really wanted to like Troll Hunter, I thought the premise carried weight and it would be bringing to life the stories you hear and read as a child. Instead all I got was shaky-cam running through the woods, shaky-cam in the car driving around places, shaky-cam walking around dark places. I think we probably saw more of the ground as the crew ran from the trolls than we did of the creatures themselves. Too long, way under-paced and ultimately disappointing.
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