Today, the Norwegian film, Troll Hunter by André Øvredal, is available everywhere On Demand. It will see a limited release in US theaters starting on June 10th and will tour the country until August. The list of locations and dates can be found here. We had a chance to see it on the same night we saw the excellent Stake Land. It was a hell of a night for movies, that’s for sure. We wish all double features could be this fun. Before we review, here’s the synopsis:
Shot in a vérité style, TROLLHUNTER is the story of a group of Norwegian film students that set out to capture real-life trolls on camera after learning their existence has been covered up for years by a government conspiracy. A thrilling and wildly entertaining film, TROLLHUNTER delivers truly fantastic images of giant trolls wreaking havoc on the countryside, with darkly funny adherence to the original Norwegian folklore.
StayFrosty: A unique concept for a cinema verite film. The lead actor (our troll hunter, played by Otto Jespersen) gives the role depth along with excellently dry line delivery. He combines humor with a weariness about his line of work. You get the sense that he respects the trolls and that he doesn’t particularly enjoy his job, which is a nice twist on the obsessive hunter. In fact, most of the acting is pretty good, but he definitely stands out. Another interesting addition is that the monsters aren’t exactly the bad guys. They are much more like wild animals than nefarious monsters out to get people. Hunting them is portrayed more like a necessity as opposed to THEY MUST BE STOPPED BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE!!! JennyD mentioned the connection to traditional folklore, and I also enjoyed that, but you can check out her thoughts below. Great FX, especially for a lower budget feature. I felt like it dragged a bit in places, but then again I was really tired, so it could have just been me. I thought the ending was different than you might expect, and I always like it when people go for the non-traditional ending.
Jenny Dreadful: I’ll admit that I’m not the best reviewer to handle this film because I was feeling very dizzy and nauseous while watching it. (I’m typically ok with this filming style, though, and I haven’t heard similar complaints from others. Chalk it up to a bad eyeballs day.)
This film is fun. Troll Hunter is played completely straight with some badass action and inspiration from lots of Norwegian folklore, but it’s clearly meant to be humorous too. In both the way that fairy tale traditions are proven to be true… They smell the blood of Christian men! They live under bridges!… the absurd science involved and the designs of the trolls themselves.
They make you wait for a little while for the reveal, but it’s worth it. I love the look of the trolls. Kind of goofy, reminiscent of Jim Henson and Brian Froud designs. Or trolls in cartoons and illustrated fairy tales with big silly noses and squinty eyes. But they’re all rendered in CGI in a way that’s realistic and believable. This works partially thanks to the grainy filming style, but I can’t dismiss the effects themselves. They’re well done.
I could get into more details about the characters and plot, but Troll Hunter is a very simple concept at its core. A first-person camera view of discovering that trolls are real and the antics that ensue. It’s all about the execution here and it works. It’s a fun ride.
And, quite frankly, what kind Norwegian troll film WOULDN’T end with some death metal?
Crowbait: My own thoughts mostly echo those of JennyD and Frosty. It was especially fun to see the old fairy tales of trolls and billy goats translated into an intense hunt. The hand-held shaky-cam was extreme but the Troll Hunter himself was worth it.
Would we recommend?
All of us at FGSG would recommend this. To everybody. It’s fun, unique, and if you don’t mind subtitles and a little shaky cam, it’s worth your time.