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18 February 2013

Troll Hunter (2012)

In Scandinavian folklore there is an enduring myth of dangerous beings who live out in the wilds. Some believe them to be Spirits of the Dead; Others call them Lords of Nature. They go by many names. I am of course talking about Trolls.

What I hadn't realised until this week was that they are real! Yep! You heard me right!

What are you looking for?
Troll Hunter, Momentum 2012

Troll mythology ranges throughout the Scandinavian lands and islands. I didn't know this, but even the Scottish islands of Orkney and Shetland have their own versions handed down by the first Norse settlers. This is where the word "Trow" is believed to have originated. Fascinating.

Check out that Danish countryside!
Troll Hunter, Momentum 2012

Troll Hunter is a first-person hand-held camcorder film that tracks the plight of some bright-eyed students as they investigate strange goings on in rural Denmark.

Tourists are disappearing. Livestock is being killed. The Danish public are beginning to ask questions. The Government is blaming rogue russian bears, but it just doesn't add up. And there's this mysterious bearded character who seems to turn up wherever there is trouble? Who on earth can he be?

To the untrained eye those are just rocks
Troll Hunter, Momentum 2012

Thank God for Thomas (played by Glenn Erland Tosterud), Johanna (played by Johanna Mørck) and Kalle (played by Tomas Alf Larsen). These intrepid investigators take to the road with nothing more than a camcorder and a cheeky smile on the trail of bearded Hans (played by the wonderful Otto Jespersen). It isn't long before they're getting themselves into all sorts of trouble and discovering that there's more to this terrible conspiracy than just bears.

I want one of these suits!
Troll Hunter, Momentum 2012

I'm not a big fan of hand-held films. You already know this if you've read my review of the mysterious Cloverfield. That film is pretty bad... but it was nothing compared to my review of the shocking Diary of the Dead. I'm going to surprise you and say that this is a different type of hand-held that reminded me more of the stupendous REC. It felt a little more real, which after all, is what it is all meant to be about. Thomas is a great central character. He looks about fourteen and has the appearance of someone who's spent his whole childhood getting into and out of scrapes. Cheeky little monkey!

Would you follow Thomas into battle?
Troll Hunter, Momentum 2012

The story skirts a very fine line without descending into farce. I think that it helps that it is able to draw on such a rich back-story in the myths themselves. The Danish scenery is stunning and thankfully there are trolls to be seen in all their computer-animated glory. I hate it when the beasts are hidden from sight and you have to wait the length of the whole film for the final reveal. My biggest fear was that they would be Jim Hendson trolls, but no, they are more Orc-like. YES! Result!

DANGER! Troll!
Troll Hunter, Momentum 2012

The film is rated 15 in the UK and apparently it "contains sequences of sustained intense threat". It’s all a bit tame really in my opinion. There is no blood, gore and violence or such like, and this is where I think something like REC manages to achieve an edge. Without it, what is left behind is a bit of a plodding narrative. I would have loved the pace to have been sped up a bit and for us to be be thrown kicking and screaming into each thrilling scene by the scruff of our dirty little necks. There is tension of sorts, but like the mine scene, even hairy Hans manages to sleep through some of it.

This always happens in hand-held films...
Troll Hunter, Momentum 2012

This film is not a disaster by any stretch of the imagination. I think the whole premise is a gem and the execution is pretty good too. I love that the film itself is an audacious poke in the eye to big film-makers; I couldn't imagine this film ever being made in Hollywood, and knowing a little bit about the film before I watched it, I loved that it had me wondering how the hell they were going to pull it off! That's exactly the sort of thing you know that I like!

I bought the Blu-ray, but I’m afraid that I can't recommend the same to you. Incidentally, one thing that I've discovered with Blu-rays is that I'm currently unable to screen-capture. Any guesses as to how I've managed to get the pictures for this post together?

So tell me... what's the story behind pylons?
Troll Hunter, Momentum 2012

Let's close this off...

On the Triple-B I’m going to rub myself down 6 times with Troll-stink. I wonder if anyone will notice the difference?

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