Sunday, May 15, 2011
For those who don't know, THE TROLL HUNTER is a found-footage style adventure film ala CLOVERFIELD, except it's Norwegian and features - you guessed it - trolls. Plainly put, this film is fun, imaginative and pretty darn cool.
The film follows some student filmmakers as they track down a supposed poacher, who turns out to be the Troll Hunter. After some mild prodding, the man lets them follow him as he makes his rounds, tending to the various problematic trolls in the region. This plot development might seem silly, which it is in a way, but the Troll Hunter explains it logically - he hates the job and doesn't care if he gets fired anymore - which is an amusing framework on which to base the meat of the film.
The film builds to several different encounters with the elusive (though not quite so elusive) trolls. One happens in the woods, another under a bridge, one in a cave, and lastly in an open field. Each showdown has it's own charms and excitement, as do the different varieties of troll themselves. Never do they feel cheap or overexposed. They remain in the shadows and the hand-held camera technique allows us to see just enough of them to be satisfied. In the end, we are treated to a more conspicuous troll (seen in the poster above), but it's so well animated and designed that its level of exposure is actually to be appreciated.
The amount of troll lore infused in the film is another fun aspect. The film strikes a nice balance between superstition and science; remaining fun, yet tethered to reality, which is important with this style of filmmaking. Trolls can't stand sunlight, yet this is explained scientifically (personally, I didn't find this entirely necessary). Trolls can smell the blood of Christians, but they don't engage with humans in an intelligent way. They're more like animals; big, monstrous, magical animals. There are even times when we think the plot might turn in a more outlandish way, only to remain grounded.
The amateur casts of such films could potentially serve as a drawback to the film, but everyone involved performed admirably, never causing a distraction from the fun at hand. The film also, through the benefit of being set in a beautiful place, offers up some striking locations in which to stage their encounters, which enhances the quality of the trolls themselves.
There are some story elements that really don't matter as much as the films makes them seem. There's this grand mystery concerning the trolls which ends up taking a backseat to the more apparent aesthetic pleasures of the film, especially near the end. There are also some moments near the middle of the film where things lag slightly. However, THE TROLL HUNTER is still a well-made and unique film and something I'd recommend to damn near anybody.
THE TROLL HUNTER is currently available on 'Movies on Demand' as a special early-release and will hit limited theaters later this summer.
Posted by The Schmoo at 2:16 PM