Troll Hunter (2011)
Troll Hunter (2011)

Genre: Fantasy Running Time: 1 hr. 43 min.

Release Date: June 10th, 2011 MPAA Rating: PG-13

Director: André Øvredal Actors: Otto Jespersen, Glenn Erland Tosterud, Johanna Morck, Tomas Alf Larsen, Urmila Berg-Domaas

 


 

“T

roll Hunter” employs a clever concept but bogs it down with too many overused clichés. It never really manages to convince the viewer that what they’re witnessing is “real,” even in the fabled realm it occupies. The special effects are the most intriguing part, though in a better film it’s the characters that would have stood out. At least the monster movie appeal is present with a steady build of towering beasts and suspenseful cat-and-mouse expeditions that lead up to the inevitable encounter with the most fearsome of the gargantuans.

A group of Volda College students, intent on filming a documentary about the recent bear deaths in Norway, begin following around several licensed hunters and Finn Haugen (Hans Morten Hansen), the head of the Norwegian Wildlife Board. When they learn that suspected poacher Hans (Otto Jespersen) might be behind the illegal slayings, the ambitious filmmakers track him down for answers. But once they confront the enigmatic hunter, they make a far more exhilarating discovery – he’s in charge of monitoring and dispatching giant trolls that roam the countryside.

Even if you’re willing to suspend your disbelief to accommodate the concept that great trolls wander the Norwegian landscape, several other aspects work to make the film feel less authentic. First, the college kids that spy on Hans are either extremely brave or incredibly stupid as they heedlessly follow a possibly deranged poacher into the woods to hunt fictitious beasts. Secondly, the understandably reclusive “troll hunter” is far too quick to allow a band of skeptical youngsters to accompany him on such a dangerous mission, regardless of how fed up he is with his lack of government benefits. One would think he might be wary of allowing kids to get injured or killed during his watch. Even Hans’ boss doesn’t seem all that concerned that their top secret activities are being filmed by documentarians.

Also hindering the believability is the general lack of familiarity concerning trolls. Whereas the blood-drinking, garlic and silver-hating behaviors of vampires tends to be widely known, the lore behind trolls isn’t similarly so. They turn to stone if exposed to UV rays, can smell Christian blood, and feed on rocks. Such traits just seem rather silly when they aren’t common knowledge. And tossing around phrases like “the college kids were never seen or heard from again” and “TSS: Troll Security Service” doesn’t exactly invoke grave seriousness.

– Joel Massie

  • 5/10