Troll Hunter (2011)

TROOOOLL! The moment suspected poacher Hans screams “Troll” at a camera crew in the middle of a dark forest before sprinting away in panic, Troll Hunter is one long, exciting, gleeful thrill ride. The prelude to this moment is perhaps superfluous and slow, but once our bearded troll hunter starts legging it away from something in the dark you’re instantly hooked. TROOOOOLL! Run!

After another bear is found shot and killed, local “authorized” bear hunters angrily react, accusing an unknown poacher of the deed. An amateur college film crew decide to find the poacher, leading them to the truck n’ trailer of Hans (Otto Jespersen), a loner with a cool hat and a trailer full of stink, fur and tanning bulbs.

Following Hans deep into a forest, the young filmmakers hear bizarre noises and see blinding flashes of lights… then Hans appears, sprinting out of the darkness, and we hear the word we’ve all been waiting for. TROOOOLL!! They flee back to civilization, and Hans reluctantly explains how he’s a troll hunter or “trolljegeren”. He is tired of his government-paid job, for a number of reasons, and agrees to let them film his exploits in an effort to show the world “the truth”.

This is the set up, and where it goes from here is magical, terrifying, hilarious and utterly thrilling. Haters of found-footage films (or “shitty shaky-cam” as I’ve heard it called before) will absolutely detest this, as it’s a wobbly-footaged epic – the camera lens even gets cracked at one point! – but for those who are still patient with hand-held camerawork, you’ll be utterly amazed by Troll Hunter. Writer / Director André Øvredal makes some bold choices and they pay off superbly, and the film builds and builds towards its climax perfectly. Troll Hunter is a very well crafted film.

Troll Hunter does have its faults – the build up is relatively mundane, considering we know precisely where it’s heading (thanks to marketing, reviews, online photos, trailers etc…) and the final few minutes might be a little head-scratching for some.

Most people will go into Troll Hunter expecting trolls, and they won’t be disappointed. There are a variety of different trolls on display here, from three headed ancient ones to a cave-full of massive fury ones. They’re lovingly crafted and strangely convincing, blending a fairytale cartoonish aesthetic with very naturalistic movement and texturing. They look real, and are fantastically well created. It is such a shame the BBFC slapped a 15 certificate on this, as it’s a magical tale for all the family, despite being a little bloody, excessively violent and somewhat sweary in places…

Troll Hunter is a demented and awe-inspiring masterpiece; brutal, fun and charming in equal measure. Clearly made for cinemas, don’t be a twit and download it – catch this on the big screen because Troll Hunter is exceptional.

Altogether now – TROOOOOOOLL!

Love it.

Rating: ★★★★★★★★½☆

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