2011 is a rough time to start a blog about horror films. Trust me...when you come up with stuff like SCI-FI Week!...you're pretty much hurting for content. While we don't necessarily keep up to date with all the minute-to-minute news on horror like some of the bigger sites do...we do like to pride ourselves in finding the films that are a bit off center. Films that won't open to huge box office numbers like this week's Super 8. One such film that you probably haven't heard of yet that will be opening in select theaters this weekend is a little Norwegian film called Trollhunter. It's a nice little film that you have to watch in a dark theater to fully appreciate.
While Trollhunter is not altogether horror...it does incorporate many of the elements you would find in any terrifying monster movie. It's mostly fantasy and action...with a little horror mythos thrown in for good measure.
The film opens with a little disclaimer informing us that we are watching footage that has been retrieved by the Norwegian government....and the events you are about to see have been analyzed and have not been proven a hoax. Yes...it is a "found footage" film involving a new element. Trolls. Trolls? Yes...you read that correctly. Someone somewhere pitched an idea to make a "found footage" film involving a man hunting trolls. Could you imagine that pitch meeting?? Well...apparently...someone thought it was a good idea...because Trollhunter opens in select theaters this weekend.
Is it any good?
Well...the film starts off with three film students off to make a film about a supposed bear poacher that has been roaming the land of Western Norway. They meet up with the mysterious "poacher" named Hans...and this guy is balls to the wall badass. He's a grizzled man with plenty of mileage who has been doing this shit for way too long. He's a matter of fact hunter that goes about his routine like it's any other day. And this would be fine...if he were in fact hunting/poaching bears. But, it's not long before the students learn that these ain't no bears Hans is a hunting. These be fucking trolls! And not the trolls like the ones you see obsessively lurking internet movie sites. These are the trolls of legend. The ones that wait under bridges for the blood of a Christian man. The ones that swallow camera men whole. Yeah....these trolls don't fuck around. But, then...neither does Hans.
When the film students learn of the actual trolls that Hans is hunting they ask to film him as he goes around policing bad trolls that have escaped certain designated areas sanctioned by a secret organization that has been monitoring these mythical beasts for some time. Because Hans doesn't really give two fucks about the killing of these trolls anymore and seems disillusioned by the practices of this secret government organization...he agrees to let the kids film him in hopes that the footage will be released one day and spin everything out of control. Kind of his way of raging against the machine.
We basically follow the group on their new quest to find a huge mountain troll that has run amok through Norway destroying everything in its path. This is where it gets interesting.
I found myself deeply enthralled in this story before realizing I was watching a fucking "found footage" film about a guy hunting trolls. That in and of itself is fucking amazing. I credit director/writer André Øvredal for this astounding feat. To take such a ludicrous premise and make it so goddamn intriguing and amazing looking. I can't say that the film is all original....it's a "found footage" movie, after all. However, the idea of using trolls as the main creatures of the film is mind-blowingly unique. Which also makes the sum of the film mind-blowingly unique. If this blog was cool enough...that's what would read on the DVD slipcase for Trollhunter: "The film is Mind-Blowingly Unique!" - Film Deviant.
It does have some flaws that I'll forgive for the sake of the entirety of the film being so much better than most of the shit that sees the light of a film projector these days. Sometimes, it feels like the characters of the film are a little too daring once the trolls show up. I mean...I'd like to think of myself as a hardened horror fan...but, if I saw a fucking three-headed tosserlad troll running after me...I think that would be the last Norway would ever see of me. These film students, while shaken (one of them is bitten by a fucking troll and never really feels the need to see a goddamn doctor!), never really display a sense of urgency or mortal fear of these big stinky beasts.
I'm sure Super 8 is awesome. I'll probably watch it over the weekend with my mom. But, I just wish that Trollhunter would get the same distribution as a film like a Super 8...because it deserves so much more than "opening in select theaters/cities". It deserves to be watched by you...a lover of fine films.
As a casual viewer of these kinds of films...I found myself fully entertained and genuinely appreciating my time spent watching Trollhunter. While it will most definitely appeal to those with a fascination for Nordic lore...I know fans of good film will enjoy themselves, as well. It is a good little film that rewards the viewer unlike most films of its "found footage" kind.
8.8 out of 10
Recommendation: Deserves to be seen before Hollywood breaks out the remake treatment (already in progress).
Thanks for reading,