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The Troll Hunter Review

Like many fads in format
and technique which seem to come and go on a whim, these trends are not limited
North America and in many cases seminal
works can be found in the international market. The found footage medium, which
made its resurgence with Paranormal
back in 2009 , has seen solid foreign efforts from [Rec] in 2007 and subsequently its
American remake Quarantine (to name a
few). Now following on the heels of that ever-expanding haunted house series, amateur
filmmaker Andre Orvedal’s The Troll
(which is out on DVD this Tuesday) takes aim at a decidedly unique
part of the “shaky cam” platform, with decent results all round.

The Troll Hunter, though very much a by-the-numbers found footage film, does a few things
differently enough to make it stand out, if not rise above. At the forefront,
obviously, is the choice to use big hideous trolls as the subject matter our
amateur auteurs are hunting, as it were. Said titular troll hunter is played by
Otto Jespersen, a reclusive and mysterious individual that four film students inadvertently
latch onto (drawn to his vehicle which is scarred with bites and scratches) in
his quest to keep the existence of trolls not only a secret, but to eliminate
those when possible. Jespersen has a lot
of fun in his gruff role; he’s ever the giant-slaying badass.


The other choice by the
filmmaker is to cleverly integrate real-world elements when telling the tale. The
scattered boulders in
many river valleys were not the product of glacial activity but warring
mountain troll tribes hurling rocks at one another. Massive power lines that
stretch across the country’s fjords are not delivering power but are in fact
giant electrified fences set up by a government agency to keep the beasts out
of populated areas. They also love to devour tires, have an even greater
penchant for devouring those of the Christian denomination (a warning that a lying
member of the group failed to mention and won’t be doing that again) and turn
to stone when exposed to sunlight. These little things are what give The Troll Hunter its cheeky fun and mingle
well with the abundant thrills.

The special effects are
used sparingly but effectively as is the case with many films of this
persuasion, and some of the action sequences are beautifully and tensely
filmed (the stakes high as the hideous creatures charge down their
soon-to-be-prey). The final creature confrontation involving a mammoth
mountain troll which has been stricken with rabies is flat out cool as Hans does
battle using a massive UV light mounted to the back of his armor and
spike-clad truck. With the exception of veteran thespian Jespersen, the cast is
assembled using mostly amateurs
and it shows but the movie is more an exercise
in premise and atmosphere than it is an acting showcase.

Some dips in the film’s
usually crisp pacing throughout do make the proceedings drag, but that is
pennies compared to the act adjacent to the final sequence which is too long,
too boring and too bad, because it sinks the entire production and the spunky
opening. The way the “recovered camera” and such is handled is straight out of
the shaky mockumentary playbook; I really want to see something daring if we
are going to continue having these movies gracing multiplexes. Despite those
late-in-the-game flaws, The Troll Hunter
is a good time and by all intents and purposes is worth a look, especially for
those seeking some mythological lore with a foreign twist and a campy spin to

Rating: 7/10

The Troll Hunter
Directed by Andre Orvedal
Written by Andre Orvedal
Starring Otto Jespersen, Hans Morten Hansen, Tomas Alf Larsen, Johanna


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