Film Review : Trollhunter
● By Justin Buettner
A group of documentary filmmakers begin following what they believe to be a bear poacher through the Norwegian countryside in hopes of getting an exclusive interview. When they follow this man out at night they discover they have found something more, a troll hunter. The mysterious man decides to take the film crew on his secret mission to control the troll population for the government. The crew begins to realize the full scope of the mythical creature’s that roam the country and the elaborate ways the government hides the existence of trolls. The discoveries lead them on a very dangerous mission into the heart of troll territory.
This foreign film is shot first person style which has become so popular lately with films like Paranormal Activity and Chronicle. The good news is this film puts that format to good use in this film. In most first person movies there are several moments where my rational mind dismisses the notion that anyone would keep filming; they would drop the camera and run away! In Trollhunter I never found myself thinking that.
The story had a good sense of humor about itself that was tongue in cheek. It takes itself seriously but never loses the fun. The way the trolls are presented is flat out spectacular. For a low budget foreign film, the trolls are very impressive. They come in several different shapes and sizes and somehow the filmmakers were able to design creatures that were menacing, funny, and fascinating all at once. Truly the special effects team in this film did top notch work.
The script populates the story with several interesting characters. At the top of that list is Hans, the former marine turned troll hunter. He’s gruff but tired and just seems lonely and ready to share this secret with someone. Otto Jespersen who plays Hans really carries the movie. I also loved the supporting characters that pop in and out of the movie including a veterinarian that has a soft spot for the trolls and the stressed out bureaucrat that spends his time trying to cover up the free ranging trolls destruction from the human population, mostly using bears as the scapegoat.
Andre’ Ovredal definitely is a talented writer and director. He struck a good balance of story elements and made a film that really doesn’t fit cleanly into a particular genre really work. That’s no easy task. The one complaint I would voice about the film is I felt it could have been edited down by twenty minutes. Particularly the beginning of the movie was just too slow. Once Hans and the trolls enter the story the film’s pace intensifies. He does a good job escalating the action building to a huge ending to the movie.
If you can look past some subtitles and are a fan of faux mockumentaries about mythical creatures then Trollhunter was made for you. It’s a fun time to be sure and a really impressive display of what a filmmaker can do these days on a limited budget.
Films like Trollhunter : Attack the Block, Best in Show, and Shaun of the Dead
Justin Buettner is Style's resident movie dude! How did he get this role? Well, he graduated from Loyola Marymount University with a Bachelor of Arts in film Production and a duel minor in Animation and Business with an emphasis in the entertainment field. He later went on to work on several independent films in various key roles including writer and later worked in the special effects field as a motion capture artist. He has since relocated to the Sacramento area with his family and continues writing for small independent films in addition to his movie reviews for Style Magazine.