Originally Posted: 6/15/2011
Updated: 8/23/2011 (Released to DVD)
“The Troll Hunter”, a Norwegian horror/thriller with English subtitles, is in limited release this week in the United States. It’s also available through various Video On Demand services as a theatrical rental.
The film came out of Tribeca 2011 with a ton of hype. Everyone who caught the screening seemed to love “The Troll Hunter”. The positive reception even caught the attention of Chris Columbus, who’s “1492 Pictures” bought the rights to an American remake.
This is a “mockumentary”, a cinematic and visual style that I absolutely despise. Pretending your film is a documentary, shot on video with a shaking camera, is just an excuse to make a film on a low budget without people noticing. Guess what? I noticed.
In “The Troll Hunter”, a group of college students begin stalking a mysterious man in the mountains. He’s an alleged bear poacher, but in reality he goes out each night to exterminate trolls. After dodging the students for a while, he succumbs to their constant questioning and invites them on an outing.
The balance of the film is the documentation of their experiences in the woods, evading and attempting to slaughter trolls. All the action is caught on hand-held cameras, and much of it using night vision technology (green tinted video similar the Paris Hilton sex tape).
Though billed as a horror/thriller, it’s really not much of either. Though lives are in danger, the villains are so comical that the situation never seems as tense as the actors would like you to believe. At the low moments, there is a lot of extremely dry humor (much of which is most likely lost in translation).
It’s an interesting concept, and it’s entertaining in spurts. The film has created a whole new species of mythical creature in the “trolls”, and goes into great detail about their habits, lifestyle, variations, likes and dislikes. They are gigantic, lumbering beasts and seem fairly easy to slaughter. They are brought to life with low-budget CGI, and because of the dry comic nature of the film, the visual trick works. If this was supposed to be truly scary, the technology would be considered a huge failure.
I wanted to stab my eyes out with the constantly shaking camera. I understand that it’s a faux amateur production, but I am begging someone to get a tripod. At over 100 minutes long, I couldn’t wait for this film to end because my head was spinning from the shitty camera work.
“The Troll Hunter” is a valiant swing and a miss. It’s definitely creative and inventive, and is probably worthy of the remake it will receive (which inevitably will be even worse). Unfortunately, it’s also overlong, underdeveloped, and features far too many low points to appeal to a mass audience.
Father’s Day is June 19. Give Dads the gift of movies.