Movie Review – Trollhunter (2010)

Three Norwegian film students secretly follow a man into the woods, believing him to be a bear poacher who they expect to catch in the act and to expose. As they search the dark forest, flashes and roars emanate from behind a hill and the man they’ve stalked runs down screaming, “Trolls!” Disbelieving at first, they soon find that his frenzied warning is genuine and begin a trek through the north of Norway, following the government-contracted trollhunter (Otto Jespersen) as he puts down dangerous trolls and watching the government’s haphazard attempts to hide the truth from the public.

Trollhunter (2010), written and directed by André Øvredal, is a docu-style horror fantasy replete with dry Scandinavian humor and some beautifully rendered creature effects. Trolls, we learn, come in all varieties and sizes, and a lot of the fun derives from seeing their multitude of forms. They feed mostly on rocks and coal but sometimes kill animals and humans when they stray too far from their protected habitats. Ultraviolet light is fatal to them – the old ones turn to stone while the young ones explode. Also, they can smell the blood of Christians, making the majority-godless Norwegians safer as a result. Some of the lore is drawn from myth, and some the filmmakers make up, but there are peppered throughout allusions to troll stories like the Norwegian fairytale “Three Billy Goats Gruff” which involves a particularly humorous encounter.  If this sounds fun to the present reader, this movie is for you.

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The characters drive through gorgeous landscapes, the camera revealing Scandinavia’s natural beauty as waterfalls cascade like ribbons down vibrantly green hills. The script touches upon themes of environmentalism as we hear radio stories about climate change or the trollhunter looks back gloomily at his record of extermination in the name of human greed and profit. Some subjects are more national in nature, such as the continuous controversy of Norwegians not wanting huge wire towers going through their lands. However, the film is not heavy-handed in its messages and instead focuses on the adventurous aspects of the story.

Trollhunter is a fun ride that sparks the imagination and brings out the inner child of the viewer. Despite one’s previous inclinations, you’ll find your mind occupied by bulbous-nosed trolls for days after.

Grade: B+

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