TrollHunter (Trolljegeren) is a genre that I don’t often see done well: self-aware horror-comedy. André Øvredal directs this mockumentary with Otto Jespersen as the Troll Hunter himself, Glenn Erland Tosterud, Tomas Alf Larsen, and Johanna Mørck. And if you can’t already tell, the film comes from Norway.
A group of young journalists are on a mission to investigate some bear attacks, but in the process discover a plot to cover up masses of trolls living in the forests. They are kept at bay from civilization by Jespersen, who decides to enlighten the crew to the ways of the troll, due to his increasing resentment of the government directing him.
When I was first shown the creatures, I felt a mixture of confusion and a little joy. These were actually very well-created CG monsters which looked like something out of Where the Wild Things Are. It perfectly describes the tone of this movie: scary in parts, surely, but ultimately a witty look at fantasy dropped into a real setting.
The comedy definitely isn’t the laugh out loud style, but it’s highly entertaining in its deadpan way. The way the trolls choose their victims, the way they ultimately meet their demise, is all a bit tongue-in-cheek. The acting is seamless in its acceptance of the absurdity, even when a character is thrown into an overpass at speeds that would have to have killed him. Jespersen’s hero hunter is strangely the most charming, not exactly embodying what we would expect from a reclusive and mysterious hunter.
Overall, TrollHunter is highly entertaining and refreshing, living up to its trailers and hype. And as someone who gets motion sickness fairly easily, I’m glad they were able to capture the vérité style without making us all physically ill (I’m looking at you, The Blair Witch Project). My only complaint would perhaps be the choices in the soundtrack, which was jarring at times as it switched from metal to orchestral.
We already know that Chris Columbus is planning a remake, which is probably the strangest director/film combination I can imagine. I can only suggest seeing this version soon and enjoying its subtlety and milieu before it becomes something else entirely.