This Norwegian film is much better than a title like Trollhunter suggests. Granted, seeing as I grew up with a colorful-haired, jeweled-bellied creature stuck on the end of my number two pencil, my idea of hunting trolls is much more ridiculous than the contents of this movie.
Basic Synopsis: Some college students trying to catch a bear hunter in the act of poaching stumble across some much scarier creatures that go bump in the wooded night. Turns out the trolls of folklore are a little more real than history gives them credit for.
Brief Thoughts: Like I said before, the title led to low expectations for me. It just sounds like such a ridiculous concept, especially when some of the more recent trolls on film were all about booger and fart jokes. I’m looking at you, The Hobbit. Luckily Trollhunter is right there with us, embracing the silliness of the concept and including it in the understandable skepticism of the characters.
Trollhunter is the right mix of humor and straight faced acceptance of this world going on under our noses, and though the moments of serious threat and horror (if they can be called that) don’t always come across as earnest as they maybe should, it never reaches a level of stupidity that something with giant, bulbous nosed creatures sniffing through the woods could easily muster. Instead of drawing flashbacks to the painful amounts of eye rolling I pointed in the general direction of those horrible adaptations of Tolkien’s novel, Trollhunter reminded me of a far greater film, Jurassic Park. Maybe it was the build of anticipation that brought that comparison in my mind about, but the first time a troll came crashing through the trees I was pumped, like when the T-Rex did the same thing all those decades before. The special effects aren’t necessarily comparable, but the childish glee was still there.
Favorite Scene And/Or Moment: My favorite moment in Trollhunter is the Three Billy Goats Gruff allusion when the hunter is trying to bait out a troll with sheep and/or goats. I couldn’t help but think of Jurassic Park here as well. Plus, the troll hunter, decked out in this ramshackled suit of armor, was quite the sight. Add a solid ragdoll effect and there’s not much more I can ask for.
Another great moment was when our film crew was giving the coverup guy a hard time at one of his decoy bear locations after stamping footprints in a pattern that no bear would walk in. Man, that guy really did stink at his job. That really is the one part of the movie I do have a problem with: people specifically with the job of keeping this world a secret knowingly let the kids continually follow the troll hunter even though they obviously had a problem with it. Thanks to that guys ineptitude there is now a found footage movie out there called Trollhunter revealing it all!
Creature Feature Effects: Trollhunter does employ night vision from the handycam on more than one occasion, masking the creature effects to an extent. That said, we still get plenty of shots of the trolls without anything like this distorting our vision. Though I never had any problems with the effects themselves, I will say the design of the trolls did throw me from time to time. For starters, the first one we meet has three heads, and a common characteristic through all the breeds of trolls we see is a large nose, perfect for sniffing out food. It was a little hard to take them seriously considering they look like something straight out of cartoons and children’s books, but I wouldn’t go as far as to say that this was detrimental to the film at all.
Quick Question / Let’s Talk About That Ending (Spoilers): How was the footage found for this found footage film? When the recordings cut out at the end of the movie, our main characters are being chased down by those in charge of keeping the existence of trolls a secret. With the added information given that they were never seen or heard from again, a safe assumption is that they were picked up, along with the footage they were carrying. So how exactly was it found? From what we’ve seen, the man who is at the head of the secrecy isn’t the best at his job, so it is possible that he was dumb enough to misplace it. Another possibility is that someone who wanted the world to know the truth released the footage. Tell me what happened!
Also, give me a sequel!
Final Thoughts: Trollhunter gets a big recommendation from me, especially if you were a fan of Cloverfield. Don’t let the subtitles scare you away.