Starring: Otto Jespersen, Glenn Erland Tosterod, Johanna Mork, Tomas Alf Larsen
A group of college students film a documentary about mysterious bear killings, thought to be the work of a poacher. Upon investigation they find themselves in the middle of a government conspiracy: the population management of trolls!
It seems a lot of low-budget filmmakers now days are making movies despite their lack of money by shooting in a "run and gun" fashion: cheap handheld camera with no tripods or dollies or any other stabilization gear. This became the rage in the 1990’s after "The Blair Witch Project" made major money. Modern day filmmakers can use this style now and combine it with high end special effects with the cost of special effects being much less than it used to. Handheld monster movies have therefore become the rage with movies like "Cloverfield" and "Diary of the Dead". Well now there’s a new title that blows its predecessors out of the water! The Norwegian made "Trollhunter".
A group of student filmmakers from a local Norwegian college are filming a documentary on the recent outbreak of bear killings. They deem this subject film worthy because only a handful of people in the country have licenses to kill bears, and none of the licensed hunters are taking credit for the kills. The hunters believe there must be a poacher in the area, and are even pointing fingers at the suspect: Hans.
The students do their research and investigating to locate where Hans is currently staying (he lives in his Jeep and small camper) and go to interview him about the bear killings. Annoyed with them, Hans tells the students to leave him alone and refuses to answer any questions. The students are unwilling to accept this saying "Do you think Michael Moore backed down after the first no?" They follow him across the Norwegian countryside and even across the river on a ferry. Hans still refuses to answer any questions, and threatens that it’s not wise to follow him so closely.
One night, the students follow Hans into the woods after hiding their vehicle in the brush. They see intense flashes of light and a creature roaring. Suddenly Hans bursts out of the woods screaming "TROLL!" and the students escape with Hans after one of them gets bitten by the supposed troll. When they arrive back at their vehicle, it’s overturned and the tires have been eaten! Hans agrees to allow them to travel with him and film his troll hunting excursions so long as they do exactly as he tells them. They agree (not believing trolls are real) and the adventure begins. The next night, they return to the same woods as before, and are met with their (and our) first real glimpse into this fantasy world… a giant troll with 3 heads which chases them through the woods until Hans leads it to his car. He flashes it with an intense UV light, and the creature turns to stone.
Its revealed that not only do trolls actually exist, but the Norwegian government is keeping the existence of the creatures a secret. The secret is getting harder to cover up, however, as recently trolls have begun escaping their fenced off territories. Hans is charged with the job of finding out why, and killing any trolls they find in the process. This brings the student filmmakers on a much more intense and dangerous adventure than they ever could have imagined.
"Trollhunter" is a fantastic film! Some might find it hard to watch as it is in Norwegian, leaving the American viewer having to read subtitles for a couple of hours, but as long as you’re not a completely lazy filmmaker, you will definitely enjoy this real-looking adventure.
The acting is brilliant. In a lot of these hand-held movies, the acting FEELS like acting, which takes the audience out of the "found footage" mindset. Here, everything definitely feels like simple reactions to what’s going on around tem. It kept me in the mood the whole time. However, I didn’t always care for the characters, so when one of the characters is killed off, I found myself not caring (and truthfully, the other characters didn’t seem to really care that much about the death either, which was really the only time I felt taken away from the story).
The trolls look AMAZING! The budget for this movie was apparently $19M, and it’s obvious that it went to the graphic design of the trolls. The looked stunning, and they are rotoscoped so well into the footage that it really did look as if the trolls were caught on tape by these students. Absolutely flawless in appearance!
The pacing of the movie is intense. It starts slow, and slowly builds to more and more intensity. It has waves of intensity as the film progresses from the slow points of doing research and unveiling information about the trolls and what’s happening to them, to the intense moments where the trolls are active and on the hunt.
If you think you can stand 100 minutes of a subtitled foreign film, WATCH "TROLLHUNTER"!!!! If you’re too lazy, though, I guess you can just wait a couple years until the American remake comes out (after all, Hollywood today is just as lazy as they seem to think Americans are by remaking every good foreign film so the general populace can just check out for a couple hours and not have to read)….
Incase you can’t tell, I’m annoyed that Hollywood is doing a remake. This film is fantastic, and there’s no reason to remake it. If you want to show it to Americans without the subtitles, just do a voice dubbing! "Trollhunter" is fantastic as is, and should not be touched by American filmmakers!
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