Review – The Troll Hunter

Let’s be clear, there is nothing about this movie that you’ll expect.  It’s part documentary, part movie, part homage to the Norwegian countryside, part expose of government corruption, but ultimately, it is an amazing movie by two very dedicated directors who had the guts to do something different to what we are used to and giving us something that is both groundbreaking, and awesome at the same time, yet completely not up its own butt.

Brief synopsis:

A group of students investigate a series of mysterious bear killings, but learns that there are much more dangerous things going on. They start to follow a mysterious hunter, learning that he is actually a troll hunter. <- Shenanigans ensue.


The three students, Thomas (the guy in front of the camera doing most of the talking), Johanna (the sound girl and general gopher) and Kalle (the cameraman) have started following this mysterious hunter whom they have heard is killing bears illegally.  They confront him, trying to get an interview with him, but he tells them to bug off.  Of course, channelling their Michael Moore determination, they do not give up and follow him from one area to the next through Norway.  They see him dump car tyres in weird places.  They sneak around and inspect his trailer which reeks of foul things.  They interview various hunters who are all convinced that that this guy is the one killing the bears illegally.  They also have the chance to interview a government man who expresses his distaste at what’s going on.

Sitting outside Hans (the bear hunter’s trailer) the one night, they decide to follow him on his next trip out into the forests.  He zooms past them in his battered vehicle and soon leaves them behind in the dark forest.  Thomas opts to take throw away a warning sign explaining danger and explosions, and sets off along this ramshackle path, with Johanna and Kalle in tow.  They find Hans’s vehicle but no sign of Hans.  But they do hear noises.  So they follow the noises and are shocked to see odd strobes of lighting in the forest, a tremendously loud noise, trees being shunted around and you can just tell from their expressions that this is not what they were expecting, at all.

There is an almighty roar, the three try and figure out what’s going on and suddenly Hans is right there, screaming into the running camera: TROLL!

And then they run.  There is a jumble of images and crazy noises.  Kalle and Thomas eventually find each other, and then after some time, Johanna steps out of the forest, looking rough and tumble.  But she’s laughing and hysterical and excited.  All three of them are.  In their run through the forest, being chased by something, they have realised that what’s chased them and it wasn’t a bear.

I genuinely cannot recommend this movie enough.  From this scene onwards, we get to learn who Hans is, what he’s been doing for a very long time and that what everyone only ever thought was myth and legend, is actually real.  Trolls exist.  And Hans hunts them – or rather, he is their keeper.  With all that implies.

As the team follow Hans around, they have several more encounters with trolls and they realise the extent the government goes to, to ensure that no one realises these creatures exist.  Through Hans we come to know a lot more about the trolls, how they hunt, the types of trolls that exist and what his tasks are.

The movie is shot on one camera only and it works very well – there was no Hollywood money here, but the production quality is excellent and the script is superb.  I genuinely fell for the overall story and found Hans’s character to be the one I really came to like.  I liked how the three students went from unbelievers to believers and how their attitudes changed.  There are a lot of surprises in store – most of all it was the amazing rendering of the variety of trolls.  The directors told me via interview that their budget for the monsters was similar to the original budget for the Jurassic Park movie and considering how well that worked, it is a remarkable feat of budgeting and yet not stinting on the overall quality of the show.

At the Empire Big Screen they had two showings of The Troll Hunter and I urged everyone who had not seen it, to go and watch it.  There were a lot of dubious faces initially, but once they came out, the messages via Twitter and Facebook was that everyone loved it and was bowled over by it.  I cannot wait to go and see it again and I’ve pre-ordered the dvd.

One comment

  1. montoc1701 /

    Great review. I am seeing it next week.

    So what is the GS Rating?

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