Monday, October 3, 2011
Trollhunter (2010) Norway Has A Giant Pest Problem
You have a problem with cockroaches or ants, maybe mice or termites? It should be easy to find an exterminator in the yellow pages or online. You have a problem with trolls knocking down your trees or eating your livestock? Might be a little more difficult. But if you live in the more remote regions of Norway, you just might be able to get some help from a troll hunter. Getting a hold of him, however...that's another story. You're probably going to have to deal with the enormous pests on your own. But if you get a camera, you could film it and put it on the big screen, a plot device central to the wacky offering from Norway, Trollhunter (aka Trolljegeren).
I say "wacky" because honestly, this is a film about trolls. Not dinosaurs, not overgrown Sasquatches, not Blair Witches. Trolls. There's the potential there for this to really fall flat on its celluloid face. And yet it never does. It maintains a deadpan expression as it presents the possibility of these mythical, semi-humanoid, giant creatures as being real. It's tongue-in-cheek, yet never becomes a parody of itself.
Filmed in "found footage" style (although written and directed by André Øvredal), a bunch of college filmmakers set out to make a documentary about an area of Norway that is suffering from a rash of bear attacks and get wind of a poacher named Hans (Otto Jespersen). He's a odd sort of fellow and the film crew grows more intrigued with him, making several attempts to interview him. One night, they follow him into the deep woods only to be caught in the middle of a troll hunt, leading to a frightening confusion that leaves the students' vehicle destroyed and their leader, Thomas (Glenn Erland Tosterud) bitten. Hans finally relents and allows the students to follow him as he does his thing, and they're made aware of a deeper conspiracy regarding these mythical creatures. Hans allows it as he's done doing the government's dirty work, possessing scars that run deep about his role in the co-existence of humans and trolls. The film crew continues to follow Hans as he hunts down the source of the recent bold migration of various trolls, one gigantic troll that may actually be rabid.
Rabid trolls. It's actually scary if you think about it.
Trollhunter is alternately serious and straight-faced funny but doesn't make the difference between the two over-wrought. The trolls themselves are pretty sweet effects, especially as you get towards the end of the film. The ending has the same problem that most found-footage films have in that it seems like they're not quite sure how to end it and on what note. It's fine for what it is, but the ending didn't leave me breathless or laughing or wanting more. Jespersen, the very controversial Norwegian comedian, plays Hans very understated and as I described before, scarred. He's been through some things you don't expect, and is ready to retire...or something more permanent.
It's a fun movie...not really a game-changer, but something of a blast nonetheless. I'll tell you, Norway is really making some waves in the horror genre (and with monsters, this can be classified as horror) with this and the energetic zombie film, Dead Snow. Should be interesting to see what comes out of Scandinavia next.
Until next time, friends, be glad there aren't zombie trolls...yet.