Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

Apparently the word is that the Norwegians have been suppressing the information that they have trolls that have been roaming their country outlands since forever. I ask you, what kind of sense does that make? That would be like the state of Florida suppressing the information that they have a place in Orlando called Disney World. We’re talking real live trolls here man! Imagine the economic boon to the nation of Norway if they would just be a little forward in their thinking. Troll safaris, troll petting zoo’s… kind of… with some care, I mean I haven’t worked out all of the logistics as of yet but the point is that if you have trolls, then I’d pay good money to see them. Regardless, the conspiracy of suppressing the troll information has been blown up and thus we have the documentary ‘Troll Hunter’ out of Norway, and let the truth be known.

Thomas (Glenn Erland Testerud), Johanna (Johanna Morck) and Kalle (Thomas Alf Larsen) are a trio of student filmmakers who are investigating the unlicensed hunting of bears in their native land. Their investigation has led them to a quiet and mysterious man named Hans (Otto Jespersen) who they believe is responsible for the majority of these killings. Just so you know, Thomas, Johanna and Kalle are nothing if not persistent… read very irritating… and they badger this man, and hound this man, and follow this man, and spy on this man until one of these hounding sessions leads them to a remote area where it looks as if Hans is doing some illegal bear hunting.

He’s not. So imagine you are in the woods and you hear some strange, really loud growling sounds. What do you do? You run of course. Or at least that’s what I would do. Even though these kids are unaware of the existence of trolls, they have been told that there are bears in them there woods and their chances with a hungry black bear is about the same as their chances with a thirty foot troll, so they should run. Not these kids. Regardless, when the strange mysterious dude goes running past you like a bat out of hell screaming like a sissy, then you definitely run, and run our young filmmakers do. Thomas got gored a little bit in the process, but he’ll be okay. Kind of.

Eventually Hans levels with these kids and informs them that he’s a troll hunter. Crazy but true. And Hans has been doing this long enough where he’s a little sick and tired of the bureaucracy, so against the wishes of his superiors, he’s going to allow this film crew to tag along. As long as they don’t believe in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. Trolls can smell a Christian a mile away and they find them quite tasty.

Though they were a little concerned that Hans might be playing them for a fool, despite the whole goring incident, these kids have now become true believers and they are determined to expose the truth, despite the powers that be and their focus on suppressing these truths. Hans, however, has other issues. Troll activity is sky high and he has no idea why they’ve continued to venture beyond their territorial boundaries and he’s going to get to the bottom of this, one way or the other. Even if it costs him his life. And the lives of those irritating student filmmakers. Even though the words ‘irritating’ and ‘student filmmaker’ is a little redundant.

So how good is this movie ‘Troll Hunter’? I guess my concern going into this film was that I was going to be subjected to another ‘Blair Witch’ style of movie, noting that I was never too fond of the ‘Blair Witch Project’ though the actual POV shooting style I can take or leave. But what I got out of ‘Troll Hunter’ was something far beyond a simple POV horror movie, something that I can’t even classify. Director Andre Orvedal has gone and created a film which is clever, intelligent and most importantly very unique in its presentation.

It takes a minute to get oriented to the style, as is usually the case with most these ‘lost footage’ point of view style films, and it also takes a while for the movie to get going considering that our filmmakers don’t have a real story to pursue as of yet, and as such we don’t have a story either, so we’re stuck hanging out with this pesky Norwegian version of the Ghost Patrol in their own Mystery Machine. Meddling kids. But of course this is all necessary build up as we live out the revelations of the troll populations along with our film crew and all that goes with these revelations.

Another thing that worked for ‘Troll Hunter’ is how deadly serious this subject is presented. The existence of trolls is absurd, we know this and the film crew knows this… until they don’t this anymore and now we don’t know anymore. And the actors involved played out this revelation about as realistically as one would imagine it could be played out. Particularly Otto Jespersen as our grizzled, seen-it-all, hardcore troll hunter who has been a soldier on the troll frontlines far too long. It also helped sell the reality of the troll concept in how realistically the completely ridiculous looking big nosed trolls were integrated into the surroundings. I’m told that Otto Jespersen is a fairly popular actor in Norway which probably brought the reality aspects of the movie down some in its host country, so when the inevitable American remake comes, they might want to avoid using somebody like Bill Macy as the troll hunter, no matter how much we love Bill Macy.

‘Troll Hunter’ is definitely a different kind of film experience, and a highly enjoyable one at that. It might move a little too slowly for some, but trust me when I tell you that patience will be rewarded.

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