The government says there's nothing to worry about it's just a problem with bears making trouble in the mountains and forests of Norway. But local hunters don't believe it and neither do a trio of college students who want to find out the truth. Armed with a video camera, they trail a mysterious poacher, who wants nothing to do with them. However, their persistence lands them straight in the path of the objects of his pursuits: trolls. They soon find themselves documenting every move of this grizzled, unlikely hero the trollhunter risking their lives to uncover the secrets of creatures only thought to exist in fairy tales.
The Norwegian comedy-fantasy Troll Hunter
, a surprise art-house hit across the globe, posits an intriguing question--what if monsters of folklore and popular culture existed, but were kept hidden by the government?--and delivers the results in a clever, faux-documentary format that underscores both the special effects and the satire. Controversial comedian Otto Jespersen is the title character, a world-weary, working-class stiff assigned by a bureaucratic agency to track and eliminate dangerous trolls from the Scandinavian countryside. The lack of respect and notoriety afforded by his job convinces Jespersen to allow a naive collegiate film crew to follow him on his hunts, which nicely balance quirky humor with genuine moments of suspense and some impressive CGI special effects for the trolls. Genre fans' appreciation for the "shaky-cam" subgenre (The Blair Witch Project
) will undoubtedly affect how they feel about Troll Hunter
--the film's light comedy will certainly be lost on those unwilling to either believe or tolerate the idea of another film comprised of "found footage." But more forgiving viewers will be thankful for the rather seamless incorporation of the CGI trolls, all imaginatively rendered as part fairy-tale image and part biological specimen, into live-action scenes, as well as the dryly humorous satire of government "special projects." Pacing is also occasionally an issue--though beautiful, the Norwegian landscape receives far too much coverage--but for the patient, Troll Hunter
is a unique and clever experience. --Paul Gaita