TROLLHUNTER (Trolljegeren)

by Derek Leidig on June 14, 2011


Written & Directed By: André Ovredal

TrollHunter, a.k.a. The Blair Troll Project, takes the lost footage-fake doc approach to uncover one of Norway’s least reported problems—troll control. Yes, those hurricanes and tornados that have torn down trees and power lines and that rogue hunter who is killing all the livestock? Government sponsored propaganda. The real culprits are about 20-30 feet high, only come out at night and, most ominously, feed on Christian blood. You Muslims may be safe, but no can say for sure.
An intrepid and thankfully not too self-absorbed crew of, sigh, student filmmakers stumble upon a mysterious figure roaming near these natural crime scenes. A little prodding and they meet the grizzled title character, Hans (Otto Jespersen) who reluctantly allows them to film what had never been filmed before: a giant three-headed forest troll (only the one head works as it should, we learn the other two are late additions and just for show). However, the students’ presence ruffles the feathers of the obligatory bureaucrat Lars, who forbids them for filming for the obligatory reasons—which, while never explained, is usually listed as “just because” in movies like this.

There is a lot to enjoy during TrollHunter. I liked how patiently Hans teaches the filmmakers (and thus, the audience) about the history and the science behind the trolls. I also liked how this seriousness contrasts the decidedly unserious-looking trolls. In this film, the myths are true, so they film the myth–bulbous noses, googly eyes and all. There is an advanced Rankin-Bass quality to the troll effects, but the CGI is well used, especially at the end when the gang gets a little too close to an infirmed snow troll. And boy, did I need to see a monster movie whose final battle begins with a Norse rendition of “Oh, How I Love Jesus”.
What I find puzzling is the news that Chris “the director of Rent” Columbus has optioned the rights for an Americanized remake. Really? This and the other recent acquisition of the US remake rights to the oddly similar and oddly odd Japanese fake doc, Big Man Japan makes me wonder if the West is in the grips of another bout of Cloverfield fever. No amount of troll-stink can protect us from that.

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