Let’s talk about trolls.
What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when I mention them? Perhaps you think of someone who finds a strange pleasure in mocking and bullying strangers online? It wouldn’t surprise me. We don’t talk that much about the classical horror element from the Scandinavian lore.
There was a time when trolls were top on mind in the monster category, only challenged by dragons. But since then zombies, vampires and crossovers between spiders and reptiles from outer space have taken over as creatures you use to scare people.
Trolls are about as rare on the movie screen as they are in reality, and that’s one of the reasons why the Norwegian Trollhunter is so refreshing and fun.
In the movie we get to follow a group of students as they’re investigating what appears to be a series of bear killings. Soon they get track of a mysterious man, who turns out to be a troll hunter and they follow him as he’s doing his dirty and dangerous work.
The format – a fake documentary, put together by supposedly “found footage” has been used before in movies such as The Blair Witch Project and Cloverfield. And of course Trollhunter contains all you could expect in terms of shaky camera work and arbitrary cuts, pastes and jumps. I’ve seen a few complaints about this coming from people who have seen many fake documentaries before and now question if we really need one more. Since I haven’t watched any of the predecessors, it’s not a problem to me.
And besides – come on! This is different. It’s a movie about trolls, real trolls, as spotted in Scandinavia. Of course we need it!
Considering the low budget, the trolls and special effects were surprisingly well done, without being particularly scary. I’m generally quite squishy and I didn’t have to close my eyes once. There was blood and a few killings, but it’s not the sort of movie where you get invested in the characters and care all that much about them. On the other hand I was thoroughly entertained, giggling a lot at tongue- in-cheek humor and the various intricate revelations about the true nature of trolls and what power lines really are for.
I’m not sure how well Trollhunter will work for an international audience. For someone who grew up with trolls in fairy tales, and can recognize the associations, it was a pleasure to watch. I suppose some of this will pass unnoticed for a foreigner. On the other hand there’s always the stunningly beautiful scenery to enjoy. A product placement from the Norwegian Tourist board?
I read somewhere that they’ve sold the rights to an American remake of this movie. It boggles my mind why someone would like to do that. The whole point with Trollhunter is that it’s so thoroughly Scandinavian.
Here’s to the hope that the trolls will find those people and bite their heads off!
Trollhunter (Trolljegeren, André Øvredal, NO 2010) My rating: 4/5