“Found Footage” movies have become ten a penny since The Blair Witch Project hit it big at the box office in 1999. However, since then the horror sub-genre has hit upon hard times, with films like Apollo 18 and The Devil Inside showing diminishing returns in the quality stakes, and lowering audience expectations. They’re not easy to get right, as the rules of this type of film often mean that audiences are left without a satisfactory resolution. Norwegian monster film Troll Hunter manages to buck the trend and deliver a film that offers audiences something new, and delivers an ending that won’t infuriate them– no wonder it’s already set for a Hollywood remake.
Writer/director André Øvredal’s film follows three students as they attempt to make a documentary about the deaths of several bears in the Norwegian wilderness. They meet Hans (Otto Jespersen), who they believe to be a poacher, but they soon learn that he is actually a disenchanted Troll Hunter working for the Norwegian government. Hans lets them tag along, filming his troll hunting excursions, in the hope that their footage will blow the lid on the long kept secret.
Troll Hunter really gets things right in the story telling, it’s a tightly plotted film, with interesting characters and clear ground rules. Yes, it’s far-fetched, but Øvredal’s script delivers exposition without it sounding like it’s shoe-horned in, no easy-feat when you’re talking about 200-foot tall Christian-eating trolls – all beautifully displayed in CGI.
Troll Hunter does have its flaws; it’s lacking in scares due to the quirky design of the trolls (think Roald Dahl’s BFG) this often means that we don’t feel that the characters are in any real peril. As a director, Øvredal could have held off on showing the creatures so soon; this would have built tension and added a bit more anticipation. But, if you throw your money down and want to see trolls, then you really want to see trolls.
Troll Hunter delivers everything that you would want as a movie and the special features on the disc don’t disappoint either. Deleted and extended scenes, a blooper reel and there’s a choppy “making of” which mainly shows what it was like making the film from the actors perspective i.e. a lot of waiting around. Also included on the disc is a special effects feature, showing how the trolls were created and a short HDNet promotional piece, which is part trailer, part talking head interviews.