Film review: Troll HuntersBy Kim Francis
September 14, 2011
If last week’s review of Apollo 18 called for an end to ‘found footage’ films, thanks to its unoriginal premise and unabashed exploitation of the saturated sub-genre, then Troll Hunter, a Norwegian take on the handheld camera-favouring genre, states the case for.
Released in Norway in October last year and shown to preview audiences over here as far back as spring this year, it’s been gaining rave reviews and word-of-mouth affirmation ever since.
Finally hitting cinema screens at the weekend, this subtitled gem of a creature feature-cum-comedy horror should now get the interest it deserves.
When a group of students begin investigating some mysterious bear killings in the Norwegian countryside they take along their video camera to record their findings.
Attempts to follow a secretive and surly hunter apparently on the trail of whatever is causing the animal deaths are met with disdain and he initially warns them away. However, their persistence eventually pays off and he agrees to let them tail him, with astonishing – and terrifying – results.
Troll Hunter isn’t just a simple made-for-scares found footage tale in the style of city-under-threat monster movie Cloverfield. Its success lies in its gentle mockery of Cloverfield and its ilk, as well as its fondness for them too.
Following the spate of copycat flicks which popped up in the wake of The Blair Witch Project, Troll Hunter is a bitingly acerbic and witty film occasionally verging on the slapstick that nevertheless clearly holds great affection for the sub-genre it subverts, shown in its offering of genuine thrills, spills and kills that are characteristic of the film’s style.
Watching blind, you may not realise that ultimately Troll Hunter is a comedy – at least not straight away.
The humour is offbeat and introduced slowly and subtly. Once you tap in, however, it is at times highly amusing, particularly at the point where troll hunter Hans (Otto Jespersen) explains the paperwork he has to fill in (he’s employed by the country’s government) whenever he spots or kills a troll.
With the eponymous troll hunter played deadpan by the well-known Norwegian comedian, you can rest assured that the central performance is top notch and it’s very much the key to the film’s success.
An intriguing insight into Scandinavian folklore, it’s a fascinating opportunity to gain a flavour for a country that the Hollywood mainstream tells us little about.
Not only is Troll Hunter fun, it’s also highly individual and refreshes a stale genre. It’s a t-rollicking must-see.