Review: Troll Hunter
What do you get when you take Cloverfield and mash it up with, um, Norway? The simple answer: TROLLS! But in Norwegian. I won’t say there was a huge amount of hype over this film – lots of people were put off by the fact that it was only shown in certain cinemas and it wasn’t in English – but it was one I really regretted not getting a chance to see when it was on the big screen. It came to DVD (and Blu Ray…) earlier this year, and it couldn’t have hit the shelves sooner.
As it is with every film with subtitles, the viewer can get used to reading them and watching the action on-screen at the same time rather quickly. Indeed, only during the less important scenes does the audience really have trouble keeping up with the dialogue and the film. Troll Hunter was no exception; the start of the film is slow enough to let us adapt to reading subtitles, without being so boring that we lose interest.
Unfortunately for the three college students in charge of filming, no one told them trolls were real or gigantic. Following what they believe to be a poacher, the students unwittingly get themselves involved in the life of Norway’s one and only troll hunter, hired by the government to keep the myth a myth and the citizens safe.
It’s a fun cast to watch as they go about the routine of, as the title suggests, hunting trolls. There are plenty of opportunities to laugh, and more than a few tense scenes when we get a real view of the film’s antagonists.
The CGI allows for the most realistic portrayal of the trolls as possible, considering the wholly mythological origin of the creatures. Thanks to the lighting and the camera used, we can accept that in the world of this film, the trolls really do exist. It doesn’t look like they were pasted into the environment using a green or blue screen, and I call that a success. So many films have such poor special effects that I wonder why I waste my money watching them, but Troll Hunter goes to show that Hollywood isn’t the only place where the work gets done and done well!
Let’s be frank, though: this film isn’t for everyone. If you don’t like fantasy or films shown from the point of view of a hand-held camera (even if it is done documentary style like Troll Hunter), you won’t like this film. However, if you can get over the genre and the camera work and the subtitles (and let’s face it, Norwegian is an awesome language to listen to, even if you don’t understand it), you will love this film. It’s clever, it’s exciting and it has trolls. Trolls. Are. Awesome. And, even better, trolls haven’t been used that much in cinema. They remain in children’s stories, and while some of these stories help build the folklore in Troll Hunter, they are mostly just background material.
So, given that it’s fun and exciting and it has trolls, you really don’t have an excuse not to watch it!
Director: André Øvredal
Age Certificate: 12A
Release Date: UK and Ireland (cinemas) – September 9th 2011