André Øvredal’s fantasy thriller promises so much, and does offer a few moments of genuine excitement, however it ultimately fails where similar films have succeeded. TrollHunter follows a group of students who are investigating some local bear killings and try to find the poacher Hans (Otto Jespersen) supposedly behind the attacks. However, they discover he is a troll hunter, using bears imported from other countries to cover up their existence.
The film follows the format of the found-footage genre of mockumentaries such as The Blair Witch Project (1999) and Cloverfield (2008), however TrollHunter doesn’t work as well as these films as it has the suspense and drama that makes the genre so successful but doesn’t have the fear factor, as the CGI trolls aren’t particularly scary. Yes, you’re scared for their safety, but the troll’s humorous features dampen this.
The film has its positives, though. The acting (Jespersen in particular), the special effects and the new spin on the mock documentary genre are all a credit to the film. It doesn’t drag at any point, even during the lengthy driving scenes, but it’s done in such a way that it has your full attention (possibly still reeling from the fact that they’ve made a film about trolls stomping around Norway).
TrollHunter is still worth an hour and a half of anyone’s time. I’m sure there’s a message behind the fact that the trolls don’t like Christians, but overlooking this it is enjoyable to watch. The cinematography is impressive and the direction is to be applauded, but fun does begin to wear thin towards the end, lacking the momentum other films in the genre possess. Although the American remake (which I’m sure will happen) will be awful, as are most are in comparison to their European counterparts (The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo an exception). Fun, but not the game-changer it was hyped to be.
Norway: Making Troglodytes fun since 2010.
TrollHunter (2010), directed by André Øvredal, is available on DVD from Momentum Pictures, certificate 15.