A group of students from a Norwegian University set out to expose the seedy world of Bear Poaching in western Norway but instead get the surprise of a lifetime. This foreign film which will be remade by Hollywood in 2014 flew under the radar and will have you thinking twice about government cover-ups. The film was directed by André Øvredal and released earlier this year (2011) by Magnet.
Thomas (Glenn Erland Tosterud), Johanna (Johanna Mørck), and their camera-man Kalle (Tomas Alf Larsen), set out to document the recent strings of bear poaching by an assumed assailant Hans (Otto Jespersen). Soon it is clear that Hans is part of a cover up that uses bear poaching as a front. Like many found footage films it starts off slow and builds the world around the characters (students). As time passes Hans takes the students with him to document his work with one condition, none of them can believe in God, an important plot point which will come into play later in the film. Soon the students learn that the bear poaching is part of a larger cover up by the government for a bigger problem; Trolls. The first encounter with a Troll sets the tone for the rest of the film. As the story progresses the students are exposed to more Trolls and different varieties. The film hints at a larger problem with the Trolls that mirrors that of a real world decline of habitats, food supplies and disease. The film never tackles the problems plaguing the Trolls but skirts the issue enough to capture the audience’s imagination. The movie closes out on a typical found footage ending which anyone could see coming.
The special effects are inconstant throughout the film with some effects being amazing while others are subpar. Writing wise the film progresses well and the narrative is pretty clear considering the nature of film genre’s different narrative structure. The weapons and techniques to track and hunt the Trolls are straight out of a fantasy setting albeit with a modern twist. The English dubbed version as one might image is serviceable with some hard translation and awkward almost unnatural sounding dialogue. Like many foreign films the subtitled version works better even with some clunky dialogue. Hearing bad lines spoken by actors is harder to process then reading them on the screen.
If ever there were a blueprint on how to properly execute a film of this nature then The Troll Hunter is just that. By no means is this movie reinventing the genre or breaking new grounds in film making. The look of the movie captures the feel of a student made film but at the same time keeps the polish of a professional movie. Considering past films like Blair Witch Project and Cloverfield and their use of the shaking cam technique this film uses it sparingly. The big success of this film is the “payoff” (the showing of the subject material of the film) that the aforementioned films either lacked (Blair Witch) or were not fulfilling enough (Cloverfield). Reveals in this film are paced just right giving the audience a chance to see the Trolls as the students making the film encounter them.
This movie is defiantly a Netflix worthy film or if you can find on BlueRay cheap.