Under the Radar?: “Troll Hunter”

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Troll Hunter is a 2010 faux documentary from Norway, revolving around a group of film students who follow a suspected poacher, hoping to catch him violating their countries wildlife preservation laws. They follow him doggedly until they finally discover the reason he’s so secretive.

He’s a Troll Hunter.

The adventure begins when students come across a commotion over a dead bear. A concerned hunter who explains to them that bear hunting is very tightly regulated in Norway. Thus, the killing had to be the work of a poacher. He points them in the direction of an odd man who appears to be a hunter, but who only hunts in the middle of the night. Eager for a story, and suspecting he might be poaching, the students begin to tail him.

The gruff hunter does his best to shoo them off, but the trio eventually succeed in tracking him on a hunt. What they find is a much bigger story than a bear poacher. This man hunts giant, mythical creatures.

Trolls.

The movie unfolds as you might expect, with the students tagging along with the hunter on his hunts, and in between, him filling them in on the mythology of Trolls. The filmmakers have created quite a thorough fictional zoological workup, and an extensive cover story for how trolls could exist without people knowing.

Hans, the hunter, is the star of the movie. Haggard and weary of killing, but committed to his duty.

The movie is shot with the handheld first person footage featured in movies such as “The Blair Witch Project” and “Cloverfield”. Unlike the recent, nearly unwatchable “Apollo 18″, however, I had no problems with this movie at all. In fact for the most part, it’s very nicely shot. In fact, quite a bit of the beauty of the Norwegian countryside comes across. The movie IS subtitled, but I wouldn’t let it stop you even if you’re a subtitle hater. This isn’t a dialogue heavy film… It doesn’t take much to read “TROLL!! RUN!!” lol.

This is a fun movie. It really is a blast. There’s no heavy lifting involved, and it has a great pacing.There’s plenty of action and occasional flashes of humor. But the movie really comes to life when the creatures are onscreen. It may not be the greatest CGI ever, but it’s more than good enough, and the creature designs are fantastic.

B+

13 thoughts on “Under the Radar?: “Troll Hunter”

  1. I saw this at the Melbourne Film Festival a couple of months ago and really disliked it. But it was my fourth film for the day, so I suspect I wasn’t in the best frame of mind for a goofy troll comedy.

    • Yeah, lol. I’ve yet to do a film festival, but I imagine they can burn you out.

      I dont know if I’d call it a flat out comedy, but its definitely comedic at times, and it’ll definitely work best if you dont take it too seriously. Good point.

  2. Glad you enjoyed it, but only giving it a B+?! What’s up with that! Ha!

    It really is beautifully shot, I’ve never wanted to go to Norway as much until after I saw this film.

    The creature designs are some of the most unique I’ve ever seen. In a post Pan’s Labyrinth world a lot of movie films looked to be trying to emulate what Guillermo del Toro did, and that’s fine, but it’s great to see something truly unique.

    • Oh man. LOL.

      Would you believe I thought of that when I was grading it? I’m not kidding, I was like Jaina’s going to be disappointed in me. :D

      I thought that was right for how I felt about it. The creature designs ARE really awesome. That first time you see the first one, I was like “NO WAY!!!” But aside from that and the beauty of the setting, it’s not all THAT ______ (you pick, action packed, funny, meaningful, suspenseful, etc etc) It WAS very fun, just… not all that much meat on the bone if you know what I’m sayin’.

      Still, thanks for the heads up, I had it on my radar, I was glad to get a little nudge to it though.

      • Definitely a LOT of fun. I think it’s been one of the few films I’ve seen this year where I’ve walked out of the screen with a wacking great smile on my face. So few films do that these days.

        Can understand the lack of meat comment. It is what it is and nothing more.

  3. I’ve heard lots of good things about this film. Now I really want to see it but it isn’t showing anywhere nearby. I think an DVD import is in order. Continental Europe seems to be making some of the best horror films of the last few years.

    • I’d be very cautious in approaching it as a horror film, Dan. Very cautious. Really nothing scary about it.

      That said, it is a good flick, and an easy recommendation to make to people.

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