Troll Hunter is a bizarre mashup of Grimm’s fairy tales, Godzilla movies, The X-Files and The Blair Witch Project. If that sounds like fun, it is. Up to a point.
An entry into the fake-found-footage subgenre, Troll Hunter is supposedly the edited recordings of three Norwegian college students (Glenn Erland Tosterud, Johanna Mørck and Tomas Alf Larsen), who follow a man (Otto Jespersen) they think is poaching bears in the countryside.
Why they’re chasing him around with a camera is never fully explained, but they’re persistent and finally catch him in the act. Of course, he is not hunting bears, although the government would like everyone to believe he is.
Director André Øvredal’s deadpan sense of humor is ideal for a movie whose monsters are smelly, funny-looking giants. The trolls are straight out of Scandinavian folklore, complete with an allergy to sunlight and an ability to sniff out Christians (leading to an awkward moment with a Muslim camera operator).
Just when the film is turning into an intentional camp classic, Øvredal gets serious, even killing off a major character. Combined with the intense attack scenes, this change of tone keeps Troll Hunter from being entirely effective as a dark comedy, while the pervasive (and occasionally juvenile) humor undercuts its success as a horror or action film.
It’s still an entertaining effort with “cult following” written all over it, and it doesn’t really aspire to anything else.
No wonder there are plans for an American remake.
Troll Hunter: 2 1/2 stars out of 4
Rated PG-13 Running Time: 1 hour 43 minutes
Norwegian with English subtitles