You Gotta See This: The Troll Hunter

Not Rated , Runtime 90 mins,  2010, Dark Fantasy/ Mockumentary

Compare to: District 9 (2009), Cloverfield (2008)

Now, here’s an interesting one that might turn you away if you’re not a fan of the “Found Footage” subgenre. I am, if done right. Sometimes they’re just cheap and lazy like the last couple exorcism films made in this style; but occasionally, this type of filmmaking is used to give you a thrill from just a different perspective than you normally see in movies: your own. That being said, if you’re also a fan of different cultures’ mythology, this is your movie.

Three young filmmakers are starting to film a particular poacher and his illegal activity of shooting bears. As they interview hunters in the nearby area, all of them seem to have the same idea that bear bodies are being placed the scenes, as they find much bigger, stranger footprints around. When the hunter in question is asked about this, he denies such ridiculousness that the body was placed. But when the trio persist in filming him, they eventually find that Hans the hunter doesn’t hunt bears at all, but trolls. They decide to follow and film him and his routines of dispatching them.

I’ve got to say, I was highly inclined to like this film way before I got a chance to watch it. Any of these mockumentaries that focus mostly on huge monsters interest me right off. Showing a “real person’s” view of massive creatures like the ones in this movie are really exciting. No soaring shots from a helicopter a la Michael Bay, and no weird shots that will try to shove the action in your face via extremely stylized lens; just a basic handheld camera. And this movie has a lot of “massive creatures” shots and is definitely the standout feature here. All the different little monsters and freaks come out to play as each area of Norway presents a different troll, similar to any other creature. Foxes in forests, monkeys in the jungle. Some of the monsters are right out of your childhood story book, as we find that many actually adhere to dwelling under bridges, smelling the blood of Christian men, so and so forth. One nicely done scene involves our hunter Hans placing three goats on a bridge, only to have a giant hand reach from underneath the bridge slapping his hand on the ground in search for the goats. Sound familiar? How Hans deals with that troll while trying to get a blood sample is also exciting as well as hilarious.

Otto Jesperson, who plays Hans, is definitely not one to be left out of receiving credit, does a great job as a man who does a job because he’s got to make a living, and nothing more. As crazy as it is for us to see these things ranging from all sizes and mutilating livestock, Jersperson’s portrayal of Hans has more of the “Meh” attitude. I’ve known plenty of guys in professions that didn’t involve troll hunting and their attitudes weren’t much different, so watching it here helps complete the real world feel, even in a country whose customs I’m not familiar with. No matter who you are, everybody gets sick of their job sometimes, even if it’s troll hunting. After blasting a monstrous, three-headed troll with overhead UV lights and turning him into stone, Hans goes over to destroy it by lighting some well placed dynamite, all while using the tact and attitude of a low paid construction worker or a truck driver. Yes, I know that both can be paid well, thanks. When explaining what happens to the trolls when light hits them, the best part of Hans’ explanation: “Sometimes they just explode.”

If you’ve ever played the game Shadow of the Colossus (one of my favorites) you might want to watch this movie just to see what giant monsters look like in “real life.” Actually, this is a decent substitute for a video game movie adaption Hollywood would take the pleasure of ruining. And a bigger budget than the Troll Hunter crew would use. On a US budget of about 3 million, it makes me wonder why our movies cost so much. How is it that some filmmakers will have a massive budget that features nothing but characters sitting around and talking about relationships while this film created entire beings that don’t exist on a computers and still manage to use less money. Pretty wasteful on our part, if I do say so. Not to hate on American filmmaking or anything, definitely not. But if less is more then I’m pretty sure the little guys in cinema have a better grasp on that than we do.

Also, this is still around if all of this trollspeak has gotten your mouth watering for even more trolls.


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