on June 26, 2011
This film demonstrates how mockumentaries should be made. The film never takes itself too serious and is just plain fun. The trolls look like doofy monsters from the Grimms Fairy-Tales and are not like the monsters you see in animated kid flicks. As Troll Hunter explains, fairy-tales and real life are not the same. Trolls are just dumb animals and as animals they act on their instinctive behavior. And why are the trolls in the movie being hunted down? Well, you will see if you watch the movie.
Now even though this movie is just for fun, do not think it is all people trying to kill trolls. There are some clever elements thrown in for people that pay attention. I found the way things were explained how trolls are affected differently by sunlight interesting (hey, for a fake movie the logic made sense). I also like the way some classic fairy-tale elements (think of some goats and a bridge) and Norwegian folklore were brought in to explain troll behavior. I also like the fact there are different kinds of trolls instead of the same CGI creature reappearing over and over again. Each troll has a distinctive personality and level of danger. I also liked the way natural occurrences people take for granted throughout the film are explained cleverly as troll behavior.
The action scenes are well worth the wait and the acting is good for a low budget independent film about hunting down trolls. Is the film an Academy Award winner? By no means! Is it a fun movie to sit back to and enjoy? Absolutely! I would recommend at least finding a way to rent this movie. It's well worth 1 hr and 44 minutes of your time.
on May 13, 2011
I had heard of this film from MovieBob over at the Escapistmagazine.com and rented it on his recommendation. And I can see why he loved this movie so much. Possible spoilers, but I'll try to keep them to a minimum.
Under the presumption of a bear poacher, a trio of college students set out to find out whats going on with a rash of dead bears across the country side. By the name of the title, you can see what they end up uncovering. Very soon they come to find out that not only are trolls real, the fairy tales behind them aren't all lies, nor truths.
What I love most about this movie is the camera work. That may sound a bit weird, but after watching "Cloverfield," you'll like the camera work too. The camera is steady nearly all the time, with realistic small bounces as the camera person runs, but only shakes terribly when dropped, which makes sense. It lets you really get a look at the trolls when they have their fleeting moments on camera. Just long enough to get a true sense of what they look like, but scarce enough to still leave you with a sense of wonder in the world's forgotten creatures.
The characters are nicely done too. The Trollhunter himself is nicely portrayed as a man sick of the secrecy, and terrible conditions of his job. The college kids do a nice job of being just some naive people who get in over their heads once the reality of the situations set in. And the trolls are nicely characterized by their actions, and reactions.
The CG is pretty good, nothing to make your jaw drop in disbelief, but used to do what is needed to be done. Plus the beautiful countryside makes for some nice scenery as their journey progresses, from the fogged in shorelines, to the plains of snow up in the mountains.
The last thing of note is explanations. I loved how they took some time to explain how the trolls live, and thrive. Why they react the way they do to sunlight, and other things that set them off. The ending does leave a possible opening, I suppose, for more movies. But I for one would rather that not happen. I feel the filmmakers gave just enough of a taste of this parallel world, to leave us satisfied while wanting more, which is where they should leave it. I highly recommend it for those who want a good thriller, with some light humor, and a great finale reminiscent of the game "Shadow of the Colossus."
on June 6, 2011
The Troll Hunter or Trolljegeren is a Norwegian monster movie portrayed as if it is real recovered footage of a man who hunts trolls and the student journalists who follow him. It is written and directed by André Øvredal, a name to keep an eye on for sure. Here is a film that works with a modest budget and takes an absolutely absurd concept and somehow forces it through as realistic a lens as possible. Sure, it's easy now to just brush off these mokumentary movies as gimmicks, because there have been quite a few of them from Man Bites Dog to The Blair Witch Project and to the more recent Quarantine (or the superior movie [Rec] that it was based on). There have been misses of course with this method but more often than not its use has been effective in making a scenario seem more authentic and the horror of it all the more compelling and enjoyable. I'm past believing the mokumentary set-up is hackneyed now. It seems to me a very legitimate way of making movies seem more real, especially in an age where computerized images dominate big budget Hollywood pictures and unwittingly request that real cinephiles stretch our suspension of disbelief well beyond at least my own comfort zone. So I'm a proponent of the possibilities of the mokumentary horror film after watching this little gem that contains all the elements to make every frame fun and believable. It is particularly highlighted by Otto Jespersen's Hans; the film's title role. His dead pan demeanor and casual actions in bizarrely twisted situations bring a welcome dry humor that had me chuckling regularly as I enjoyed The Troll Hunter. Jespersen offers up a Bill Murray-like performance in a role that is clearly not written for a comedian, but is most definitely and quite potently delivered by one. He is terrific in this movie.
A group of naive student journalists sets out to track down and document a supposed bear poacher. This is Hans (Jespersen) and he is very reluctant to respond to their inquiries about his activities. They follow Hans all over Western Norway until they finally discover what he is really doing. After they figure this out he lets them follow and film him as he goes about his unique occupation. The moment when the students know for sure what Hans is really up to will test your imagination or make you laugh hysterically, or maybe even a little bit of both. At that moment I wasn't really sure what I was watching but I knew one thing; I loved it.
The natural performances by the rest of the cast are not to be overlooked. These are talented young actors that help make the film much more than a simple one trick monster movie. The Troll Hunter should also be commended for being shot on location in the mountains of Western Norway. It couldn't have been an easy shoot for anyone but again it lends itself in an attempt to make an off-the-wall concept filmmable and compelling. I suspect massive international attention for The Troll Hunter soon enough, and it deserves it. This has cult classic written all over it.
on May 15, 2011
I watched this after seeing news/reviews about it on io9.com. A lot of comparisons are made between Cloverfield and it, but I feel that it is rather quite different movie. There are moments of action and it is far from dull, but it is really not deserving of classifications as "thriller" or "horror" of which I've seen. That's not to say I didn't thoroughly enjoy it. It has a really great documentary feel and is really interesting look to the culture and folklore of the area. It really feels fresh, unlike a lot of the crap Hollywood is pumping out these days. I highly recommend it, and in fact, I will be watching it again today.
on November 2, 2011
I've read the other reviews of this film, and while I generally think Norwegian films are less than see-worthy, this one is hopefully the start of a new era in Norwegian film.
The backdrop is drawn heavily from Asbjørnsen and Moe's Collected Norwegian Fairytales, albeit in a very modern world setting. I've heard people complain about "it's so unrealistic and it's trampling on christian faith, smelling christian blood is SO unrealistic" Well. To all of those who think that's a very free interpretation of the lore, you should seriously try to read some of the aforementioned fairytales. Trolls CAN smell christian mans' blood. And it DO drive them even crazier than normal.
The fairytales comes from an era in Norwegian history aftrer the Viking era, and thus "we" were "christianised" for lack of a better word. And as all bad creatures (like vampires, werewolves, etc) hate and distrust symbols and people of the Christian faith, so do trolls. Although, the trolls take it a step fursther with their heightened sense of smell, which allows them to actually smell "christian mans' blood."
Now that THAT is explained and now makes sense, the film is very true to the Norwegian Folklore, Otto Jespersen (playing Hans) describes the different kinds of trolls and their habits, their habitats and societies and all such in a quick and easy way to understand. He's actually a comedian in Norway, as well as at least 3 or 4 others of the (minor) cast, but does a very good job in this film.
All in all... when me mrs. said she wanted to see a Norwgian film, I seriosuly didn't expect much. I expected quite a bit of dodgy (at best) dialogue, slightly unfocused cameras, thin storyline with even less plot, and music originating from Norway Worst EuroVision SongContest.
What I got was good dialogue, sharp camera focus (bearing in mind it's supposed to be amateurs handling the camera at all time) good storyline (which every Norwegian knows the background of by heart) with a fair plot, and music that actually fits the film.
I'll give it 4 out of 5 stars, as I think they could've done a slightly better job in fleshing out the different troll tribes and why the government tries so hard to keep the trolls a secret. Also, in quite typical Norwegian film-manner, it lacks a little bit of "polish," norwegian film always look very amateur-ish, and this was no exception to that rule. I think Norwegian filmmakers and script writers scould learn a little from BBC and also Hollywood when it comes to the "polish" of the films, although that's just a very minor point, but as I'm now used to BBC productions of Torchwood, Being Human, Dr. Who, and others, it's very easy to notice. Even though the film is supposed to be made (mostly) by amateur college students, the lack of this "polish" DO drag the whole experience down. Then again, it might just be because I'm so used to Norwegian film that I cringe every time I hear about one :lol
on May 6, 2011
(Saw this movie on Amazon Video on Demand at the pre-theatrical release price).
While this movie is clearly carrying genes inherited from its predecessors such as The Blair Witch Project and Cloverfield, Trollhunter manages to be far more than a mere clone. It is filmed with an unassuming panache which keeps it fresh and entertaining throughout. It stands apart as much as for its distinctly non-Hollywood feel and style as for the subject matter, and while it falls short of being truly scary, nevertheless it has moments of high excitement and you're never quite sure how the story will unfold (though the ending is something you can see coming a 200-foot-tall mountain off!). The dour and mysterious Troll Hunter himself makes an atypical and fun central character, and the trolls themselves make sufficient appearances to satisfy without turning the movie into Where The Wild Things Are.
on December 22, 2011
This is a marvelous, delightful film. Get it now, the original, in Norwegian, before Hollywood gets their hands on it and homogenizes it or turns the trolls into Big Foot or such.
The concept here isn't wildly original. It's Blair Witch Project meets X Files. But the execution is what counts and they pulled it off beautifully. It's a serious film that also will have you laughing. The best moment was when the skeptical intellectuals reacted automatically to "Troll!" being yelled at them. They ran and felt abashed later. It was a perfectly done moment to show how ingrained in the culture, and in them, trolls--real trolls--were. If, like me, you come from Norwegian heritage and grew up on tales of trolls in the "Old Country", you'll find an extra bonus in this movie showing were it all came from.
The special effects were also quite good.
Great film. Highly recommended. A new favorite.
on July 18, 2011
If you ever see a 1-2 star review of this, make sure they can back it up. Trust me, they can't. I saw this last week in a limited screening in DC and loved it. We (The entire audience) laughed through the whole movie. A review had said, the entire movie is in the trailer?? He wasn't reading the subtitles then. There is so much humor in the plot and lines from the cast that you have to pay attention. It's not just the trolls that make the movie.
So now Christopher Columbus is supposed to be making an Amercian version? As an American I am insulted when movie makers think;
1. I am too lazy or stupid to enjoy a film with subtitles.
2. That director has an ego big enough to think he/she can make a better movie.
It's awesome in the original Norwegian dialogue.
What you get (in the form of a mocumentary):
We get college students who think this is all silly at the begining.
They learn pretty fast that it's all real. (not a spoiler we know this from trailers)
An ending press release that had the audience laughing as they left the theater. Stay for it all.
- Yes it is sort of Blair Witch with some cool special effects but to think of the film they made with the low budget is cool all around. It's so worth it to see the original.
on November 17, 2014
This "Documentary" is so good, it almost makes you believe in Trolls for real ! A VERY interesting movie indeed. (I usually stay away from subtitled foreign-language movies, (I ONLY HAVE 2,)) But this one was so good, I purchased it after viewing it on Amazon Prime. The other one is Gojira, (The Original Japanese version of Godzilla, King of the Monsters. Also a very good movie.) Before viewing this movie, I always thought of Trolls as approximately human proportions, or slightly smaller. NOT Giant Monsters! And I NEVER thought of different species of them either!
For any "Monster Lovers", I would recommend this movie!
on May 30, 2011
I wasn't sure what to expect when I set down to watch this film.
'Found lost tapes' style movies are hit or miss with me, and this definitely qualifies as a lost tapes movie. The camera work is wobbly as expected but not so much as to make you queasy (Blair Witch and Cloverfield...). The premise is fun: a student film crew investigating bear poaching instead find a man with an unusual profession. While the characters don't really develop and there is not a speedy-fast plot, I still enjoyed myself a great deal more than I expected I would. The CGI effects are very nicely integrated and definitely give the movie a feeling of quality production value.
I wouldn't call this movie horror but it is definitely fun. As an added bonus you get to see parts of the world you normally would not. I guess I have to wait until the August dvd release to see it again.