DIR: André Øvreda • WRI: Håvard S. Johansen, André Øvredal • PRO: Sveinung Golimo, John M. Jacobsen • DOP: Hallvard Bræin • ED: Per-Erik Eriksen • CAST: Glenn Erland Trosterud, Johanna Mørck, Otto Jesperson
Here’s a quirky, off-kilter enjoyable fantasy film that takes the ‘found footage’ genre of Blair Witch Project, Cloverfield and the like and spins out an enjoyable Norwegian tale steeped in folklore.
Thomas (Trosterud) and Johanna (Mørck), two of a team of student filmmakers, are shooting a documentary that seeks to expose bear poaching in Norway. But it turns out that Hans (Jesperson), the suspect poacher, is in fact a civil servant who heads up the secret ‘troll management’ division of the Norwegian government. Hans is the go-to guy for all troll problems.
However, Hans is tired of working in secrecy and invites the students to join him on his trollbusting exploits. Because trolls turn to stone or explode upon contact with sunlight, Hans’ method of attack is to mimic sunlight with his arsenal of ghostbusting-like devices. Hans demands to know if the students are Christians because ‘trolls can smell Christians’. They must also cover themselves in ‘troll stink’ to cover their human smells. And so off a-hunting they all go.
Hans takes centre stage throughout the film. The students are quite dull, one-dimensional characters – but they really are mere McGuffins in their necessity to be used to allow for the ‘found footage’ angle of the film.
Director André Øvreda manages proceedings well and pursues the trolls in dark shadows and night vision to heighten their impact. The landscape is used to great effect as cameras pan over and pace through the fjord region in Norway in which the trolls make their underground homes in hills, caves and mounds.
The film’s extensive cultural references and accomplished effects certainly suck you in but the real moments of fear come in anticipation of the trolls, as the beasts themselves when they do appear look like ageing close cousins of Jim Henson’s cute monsters from Where the Wild Things Are – and I kept finding myself looking at them with a similar affection and sorrow at their plight as huntees – particularly when the film briefly tells of their history being exploited by the government. Poor trolls.
Love them or hunt them, Troll Hunter is a well imagined and entertainingly executed piece of filmmaking and has to be commended for including the line ‘I need more troll stink.’
Don’t we all…
Rated 15A (seeIFCO websitefor details)
Troll Hunter is released on 9th September 2011