THE TROLL HUNTER (2010) – The Dungeon Review!

Like any trend in film when its successful droves of other filmmakers jump on the bandwagon to cash in on the success. One such trend is the hand-held camera “found footage”. I have seen at least a dozen of these films and I rarely enjoy them. Sure there are a handful that work, but most of them get on my last nerve. Do not deprive yourself trolls based on a hatred for this trend or you’ll miss one hell of a film. The Troll Hunter is not only a seriously kick ass piece of cinema but it may very well be the best damn hand held camera film out there.

A group of students track an alleged bear poacher only to learn, he is in fact, a Troll Hunter.

Director André Øvredal taps into his Norwegian culture and creates a clever, beautiful, funny and thrilling folklore tale about trolls. I cannot give Øvredal enough accolades in respect to the factual information provided in The Troll Hunter. I was expecting a campy Destroy all Monsters type monster flick (that is not a bad thing – I love that film!!) and what I got was an extremely well thought out, intense vehicle that also manages to be thoroughly entertaining! Øvredal took his troll facts directly from Norwegian folklore and treats his subjects with a great deal of care and respect.

It is troll hunter Hans responsibility to keep the trolls in check. Hans works for the government who has long been keeping the trolls a secret from the Norwegian population. Despite their massive size the trolls stay in their own environment and cause little trouble. It has been relatively easy to keep the troll’s existence a secret until recently. The trolls have been killing livestock and laying ruin to the land they cross. A troll hunter may be the most thankless job ever. How could anyone appreciate the difficult and dangerous work of a troll hunter when no one knows trolls exist? Hans is tired and frustrated not necessarily due to the work but the bureaucracy of the Norwegian government. Hans allows a group of students to film him “working” much to the chagrin of his superior. Otto Jespersen is perfectly cast as Hans the troll hunter. Hans is a great character. Hans is tough but reasonable and shows himself to be a man of integrity. Hans actually has empathy for the creatures despite the fact he is often called on to destroy them. He is also modest so don’t call him a hero. The entire cast is quite good actually. If you are considering troll hunter as a future career be warned, they smell Christians!

These monsters of massive proportion are nothing short of fantastic. There are two types of trolls; mountain trolls and forest trolls. Each and every troll looks unique and varies in size. Wait until you get a look at these immensely creative creatures! For all my issues with CGI versus practical effects I must admit this film would not have been the same without these wonderful computer generated giants. The build up before each troll sighting was phenomenal! I was as excited as a child at Christmas anticipating another troll. Although this is hand held camera footage it never becomes a chore to view. The films sound effects are impressive. They come up with some seriously intimidating calls for the creatures. The crashing footsteps in the distance and the shaking ground announce their arrival. Despite a great deal of the film taking place at night there are never issues seeing the action. The gorgeous Norwegian countryside, forest and mountains is a pleasing backdrop for the troll mayhem.

The Troll Hunter is a brilliant, well-written, thoughtful, and humorous folktale with great effects. It lacks gore, nudity, sex and most of the things I hold in high regard but holy shit is it entertaining! There are more curse words in this review than there is in the entire film. This is not regular dungeon fare but I loved it!! My only complaint was it ended too soon! Bravo Mr. Øvredal! Bravo. Highly recommended!

Dungeon Rating: 4.5/5

Directed By: André Øvredal

Starring: Otto Jespersen, Glenn Erland Tosterud, Johanna Mørck, Tomas Alf Larsen, Urmila Berg-Domaas, Hans Morten Hansen, Robert Stoltenberg, Knut Nærum, Eirik Bech

5 Responses to “THE TROLL HUNTER (2010) – The Dungeon Review!”

  1. I’ve heard a lot of good things about this. Thanks for the review Terri. I have to say I am a fan of this type of film. Ever since I saw Blair Witch Project and the MacPherson Tapes I’ve been hooked on the genre. Yes, I like the Paranormal Activity films too! REC is superb also. So, I’m hoping I’ll really like this too. I wonder how long it will be before Hollywood remakes it?

    • I went to see Paranormal Activity at the theatre and I almost tossed my cookies because of that shaky cam! I liked the movie, but it has some issues and the camera was a major issue for me. I watched a movie called COLIN during zombie month that uses the shaky hand-cam thing and it really spoiled the film for me. Like I said though, there are a few that work. I really liked Blair Witch when it came out and [REC} is absolutely top-notch. Troll Hunter is just a great entertaining film despite the technique. I was surprised at just how much I enjoyed this one! Hell, you could watch it with kids (if they can read…it is sub-titled). There are not too many films I review here in the Dungeon you can say that about!!

  2. I was fortunate to see this on the big screen during limited release here in St. Louis and I thought it was great. Whenever I think of this movie, I think of the final scene, which I thought was hilarious- about the Norwegian government dropping “hints” about the existence of trolls.

    I am really hoping that they abandon the re-make idea. The whole reason the movie works is because it’s a labor of love for the Norwegians. Their troll folklore is so important to them. Bringing it here, it just becomes more hubris- more people trying to make more money through the misguided notion that they can somehow improve the original. It bums me out. There is a (limited) time and place for re-makes and this is definitely not one of them.

    • I REALLY wish I had seen this one at the theatre!

      I don’t like the word “purist” as it has the word “pure” in it…which is just a yucky word! I generally just avoid remakes with few exceptions. This trend of re-making foreign films not long after they are released is just a sad state of affairs. Whilst making small talk with a co-worker I mentioned The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and she said “Oh, I’ll wait for the American version, I don’t like to read when I go to a movie.” What the hell??!! I don’t get it at all…but I guess it goes a long way to explaining why they re-make these foreign films. I find it really rather depressing myself.

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