Remember those cute and colorful troll toys that you used to have as a kid? You know, the ones with the funky hair that you liked to butcher with a pair of scissors? Or…was that just me? Well, the trolls of legends are nothing like that and they are far from cute and cuddly. The docu-style horror, Trollhunter, creatively showcases trolls, who are very much real, running amok in Norway.
Before the film begins, the audience is presented with information explaining how the “lost tapes” were obtained. Apparently, the footage was mailed to them anonymously and at first was thought to be a joke. However, upon review, authorities realized that the events depicted in the film are very much real.
The movie immediately opens up in the midst of a documentary being made by three Norwegian college students who are on a mission to interview a famous poacher, Hans (Otto Jespersen). The kids, reporter Thomas, sound tech Johanna, and cameraman Kalle, get a tip that Hans is staying at a local campground and they confront him. Hans is very standoffish and reclusive, brushing the crew off right away. However, the three kids don’t stop there.
Determined to get footage for their film, the three students stake out Hans’s area, waiting for any movement. They luck out when Hans leaves and they follow him to a creepy and abandoned road in the middle of the woods. The crew enters after their story and are frightened when they find Hans running towards them, screaming “Troll!”. The crew quickly realizes that their story is a lot bigger than they had originally planned and Hans agrees to take them along his journey.
As the crew follows Hans around they slowly learn what it is that the poacher does. He explains to them that trolls are very much real and that the government has been keeping it a secret from the public for years. It is up to Hans, a member of the Troll Security Service (TSS), to find and exterminate the predators, protecting Norway along the way.
The college students are hesitant at first and believe that Hans is just crazy; they don’t believe that trolls are real and they laugh that he has simply lost his mind. However, when they are on an expedition in the woods with Hans, they get the evidence that they were dying for.
Hans comes rushing out from the trees, telling the crew to run, but they are hypnotized by the shaking Earth and the unimaginable growls that begin to fill the air. As the trees shake back and forth and the growls and quakes come closer, the crew comes face to face with a giant, disgusting, 3-headed troll. From that moment on, the kids are convinced that trolls are real, and they continue to follow Hans on his journey, and help him to expose the truth behind the trolls.
This film was so much fun to watch because it was extremely creative and different than what I’m used to seeing. Filmmaker, Andre Ovredal, used what we already knew about trolls through myths and fairytale and added onto it, making these trolls his own. There were specific elements revolving around the trolls, such as their lack of Vitamin D production, which causes them to turn to stone when their skin hits sunlight, as well as their hatred for Christians, which was rather humorous. These unique elements and descriptions helped to make the film more real and enjoyable and really added on to the overall final product.
The film was a perfect mixture of horror, documentary, and satire on the Norwegian government, which did all it could to keep the trolls a secret from its people. The movie’s actors, particularly Jespersen, had great performances, so much so that I forgot that I was watching actors. I also enjoyed the college student’s reactions to what they were learning because they seemed extremely real and relatable.
I really liked the history behind the trolls and you could tell that the filmmaker really did his research into the lore behind them. It was fun to see the different types of trolls, and they were extremely unique in their own ways. My favorite would have to be the 3-headed troll, which Hans explains, can only see from one head; the other two heads are not really heads, rather, they are objects just protruding from its body.
This film is very detailed and obviously not half-ass. I was surprised to see how well the trolls actually looked when we got to see them, and the audience does get to see them a lot in the film. They didn’t look too fake or over-the-top; in my opinion, they were made just right. I give props to the director for taking something that is already well known and turning it into his own vision, which is something hard to do.
Trollhunter is currently in talks for an American remake, although there is not much detail at this time. I would rather the film not be remade because I think what made this movie successful was the fact that it was foreign and it took place in Norway. Norway is the perfect backdrop for Trollhunter because the troll legend is a big part of the country’s history. I just don’t think that American audiences would understand the idea as well and I don’t think a troll story in America would have the same effect. However, I’m still going to give it a shot and see it when and if it does get made.
Overall, Trollhunter is a fun and entertaining “found footage” horror film. It’s a new and creative story that audience’s have not seen too often and I really think a lot of people will enjoy it. The film has some really cool troll scenes and there are a lot of awesome bits of information thrown at you during the duration of the movie. I highly recommend this one but be prepared to read a lot because it’s a Norwegian film.