Written and directed by André Øvredal, Troll Hunter follows the misfortunes of three Norwegian teen reporters Thomas (Glenn Erland Tosterud), Johanna (Johanna Mørck), Kalle (Tomas Alf Larsen) as they follow suspected bear poacher Hans (Otto Jespersen) for a school project.
But our hero Hans is not what he appears and through a superbly directed and beautifully cinematographic journey into the Norwegian wilderness we discover he’s a tormented and embattled civil servant in a unique position. Armed only with a UV lamp and a hammer, Hans is trying to solve a mystery; why are the films antagonists leaving their territory and entering ours?
Like Blair Witch before it, we learn of our band of Troll Hunter’s misadventures through recovered videotape footage, but this is where the comparison ends. Although Troll Hunter has plenty of tension, surprises and chase scenes the film offers more comedy than horror.
Supported by a solid cast, the ancient forest and mountain folk are definitely the comedy stars of the film but more through slapstick than any clever one-liners, as our hero admits ‘they’re not very bright’. Even so, watching these Norwegian giants stumble through their homeland you can’t but help feel empathy for these misunderstood creatures and their plight.
Troll Hunter is also a mythological and anthropological journey, weaving fairy tales and reality flawlessly (captured in a hilarious adaptation of the Three Billy Goats Gruff fable), giving the audience an insight into Troll history, habits and culture.
Although the film’s comedy could have been a little darker and Hans’ acceptance of the young reporters company doesn’t ring true, there’s very little wrong with this movie.
Unlike Super 8, this brilliantly conceived film has heart, likeable monsters and a great plot – and is undoubtedly the monster movie of the year, and a necessary addition to any Troll survival kit.
FACT, Wood Street
From: Friday 9th September