Do you like found footage moves? Do you like trolls? If the answer is yes then THE TROLL HUNTER is an above average example of both worlds. TROLL HUNTER combines many of the different found footage tropes and emerges with something that’s quite a bit of fun even if the filmmaking style isn’t entirely new. TROLL HUNTER packs in a decent amount of laughs, action, suspense and fantastic creature designs that should delight many movie fans of all kinds. The film also has some pretty great shots of open Norwegian countryside that add to the quality of the images and the scale of the beasts being filmed.
TROLL HUNTER follows three college students documenting the emergence of what they believe is a bear poacher that’s illegally killing bears in Norway. They are hot on the trail of the man they believe to be the poacher and they try vigorously to ask him some pressing questions to get him to admit to being the poacher. They decide to follow the man as he goes out on his late night strolls when they discover that his name is Hans and he indeed is not a bear poacher but is employed by a secret company dedicated to the cover up of the existence of trolls. Hans then takes the group to document his duties in hunting trolls that escape the barriers they are assigned to and handling them as need be.
If there has ever been a film to embrace its subject matter and just run with it, it’s TROLL HUNTER. Just reading a premise that features the words documentary and trolls would normally send eyes rolling and likely not generate the kind of interest you’d want among audiences unless you’re film is BEST WORST MOVIE. I watched the trailer for TROLL HUNTER and didn’t know a single thing about it beforehand and immediately told myself that I HAD to see it. The trailer itself spoils a lot of the money shots, but so much of the film is interesting and fun that it can be enjoyed by almost anyone.
TROLL HUNTER is not the worst offender of the motion sickness hand held camera movies, but make no mistake, there are some really shaky movements along the way. The medium does however fit this story pretty perfectly as a means in which to portray the events. It’s already very hard to take a movie about trolls seriously, but watching it in this way there were some seriously intense sequences, partly because the camera more or less puts you in the situation. Unlike its found footage creature feature counterpart, CLOVERFIELD, this film gives plenty of framed shots of the trolls while still leaving enough to the imagination when they are not framed in the shot.
I don’t want to say that the look of the trolls are silly, but when you look at the creatures with their long exaggerated noses, or some with the short, fat and hairy bodies it’s hard not to giggle. I can’t say they are all that silly because many of them seem to take on features of the average person, except they’ve taken those features and greatly exaggerated them to make them more distinguishable as a creature as opposed to a person. That said, the designs are pretty great; each troll is memorable (but don’t expect me to remember the actual names) and all have their own specific traits and actions. Combined with the look, the sound design of their grunts and groans is also extremely well don’t and at times really adds to the tension.
The one main gripe I have is that I didn’t care for any of the college students filming the events. The characterization was not there and at more than one point you are supposed to care about something that just happened or was about to happen and I just didn’t feel it. I did really enjoy the actual troll hunter, Hans; he was always saying something I found really humorous or very interesting and engaging.
I won’t say TROLL HUNTER is tailor made for any specific type of audience, but I really feel that just about anyone can find something appreciate and enjoy here. It’s not specific to any genre, but if I had to categorize it, I would say it fits more in fantasy horror. The film barely has any blood or violence, despite one or two sequences; the language isn’t explicit and despite some tense sequences I wouldn’t call TROLL HUNTER terrifying but it is quite exhilarating at times. I don’t expect anyone to have a firm belief in trolls by the end, but the special effects and the mythology are both fantastic. It takes a certain level of suspension of disbelief to really immerse yourself into TROLL HUNTER, but the trip is more than worth a trip under the bridge.