‘Trollhunter (Trolljegeren)’



Trollhunter (2010) Directed by André Øvredal. Starring Otto Jespersen, Glenn Erland Tosterud, Johanna Mørck, Tomas Alf Larsen, Hans Morten Hansen.

The single-word quote above comes early in the tremendous film Trollhunter during a moment of desperate fear, an urgent warning to others to run for their lives. For me, it is a rallying cry, a shout of joy and exultation, a delirious scream of excitement for one of the greatest monster movies I have ever seen.

A film crew made up of college students are following a suspected bear poacher, Hans (Otto Jespersen), in the hopes of exposing him. They track him down one night in a forest, noting that his battered Land Rover is covered in enormous scratches. He tells them to scram but those pesky kids keep following him. They soon discover that he’s not an illegal hunter at all; Hans is a troll hunter. He works for a secret government agency but he’s growing weary of his job and he’s ready to reveal to the world the existence of these creatures. And so Hans allows the film crew to follow him as he battles trolls across the beautiful Norwegian countryside.

Monster movies make me feel like a kid again. Be they dinosaurs, giant bugs, unrecognizable creatures, vicious aliens or, who could have imagined, giant trolls, monsters fascinate me. I admire the craft of monster effects. Even awful, laughable rubber monsters hold a fascination for me. Usually this is where I slightly diverge from the “less is more” crowd’s take on horror, that what you don’t see is scarier than what you do see. I like to see the monster. Of course I understand that you don’t want it blown in the first ten minutes by seeing the entire creature right away. You need teasing hints and the anticipation of its appearance is part of the fun. But when that monster does arrive I want to see it as much as possible and witness it wreaking as much havoc as it can. My impatience grows during those dull moments between monster attacks. Yes… I guess you could say that I am a sucker for the “monster gaze”.

Trollhunter does a great job of building this anticipation while showing enough troll to satisfy me. The trolls appear to be mostly, if not completely, computer generated. I’m typically not a fan of cgi effects but these trolls look great. They are as tall as trees with thick, shaggy fur covering their bodies and enormous noses protruding from between tiny eyes. In spite of a slightly goofy appearance, they are still menacing behemoths. As Wikipedia will tell you, their look is influenced artists John Bauer and Theodor Kittelsen, both of  whom I knew little about prior to writing this review. But it is easy now to see their style reflected in this film’s creatures.

The Norwegian mythology of the trolls is taken seriously, adapted for a modern day Norway. There are different kinds with looks specific to their types and age. Their vulnerability to sunlight and ability to smell Christian blood are based on Norwegian folktales. In a humorous reference to ‘Three Billy Goats Gruff’, Hans uses lambs as troll-bait on a bridge; it doesn’t end quite so well for these animals, however. It’s worth noting that as seriously as the trolls are taken, Trollhunter is also really funny, which adds a bit of glee to its thrills.

And those trolls are quite thrilling. I was in awe whenever they appeared on screen, stomping through trees or smashing around on a bridge. I never knew I could find giant trolls so exciting. When I first heard about the film it did not appeal to me at all. Trolls? Found footage? What I imagined did not interest me at all. I was a fool, an unimaginative buffoon. I now know that trolls are awesome.

Trollhunter is a treasure. Even those not fond of found footage films should find this enjoyable. It’s funny and exciting and it looks incredible. Please do yourself a favor and check out this epic film.

See some of John Bauer’s work on his Wikipedia page or here on this artpassions.net page.


One Response to “‘Trollhunter (Trolljegeren)’”

  1. Michael K Vaughan Says:

    This movie was epic. While watching this I simply could not believe how great it was. That bridge scene was classic.

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