Due to how the film is shown in a first person documentary style (almost a mockumentary style) by three students trailing the title huntsman with constant camera in tow, its image seen only through such a lens, the film has been inevitably compared to The Blair Witch Project and/or Cloverfield (though often despairingly so, which should not be the case), but still, André Øvredal's Troll Hunter, the Norwegian answer to our vampire/werewolf obsession perhaps, is a whimsical, satiric romp that starts off innocently enough before turning itself on its own head midway through and eventually driving itself into the most giddy of monster movies by the time its quite abrupt ending and subsequent end credits arrive - all too soon in my opinion. Okay, perhaps it shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone, the film is called Troll Hunter after all, but when the titular woodsman comes running toward the aforementioned omnipresent camera and yells "Troll!!” you know right there that you are in for a fun ride - and what a fun ride indeed.
It is a very basic story. Trolls, giant ones, some as tall as 100 feet, roam the fjords and forests of Norway and it is the troll hunter's job to keep their population wrangled and out of sight of the Norwegian populace. Kept on reservations of sorts, these trolls (more beast than man we are told by the titular zookeeper) come to symbolize the multitudes of oppressed throughout history while at the same time being shown as mere stupid mammals who need to be controlled or at the sympathetic least, be put out of their own misery. It is a government job so of course you know there are going to be some bureaucratic entanglements as well as your typical giant-ass monster problems - and this is where the socio-political satire comes even more into play. Still though, satiric prose aside, what we get in Troll Hunter at its most basic level is a fun monster movie that perhaps never reaches the heights of which it has the potential, still happily harkens back to a simpler time of moviemaking - even if it does all get captured on the very modern technique of digital filmmaking and is shown through the tech-savvy eyes of a younger, more jaded generation.
Following around this somewhat loony government-sanctioned (but not government-controlled we are happy to learn) monster hunter, our three intrepid college student filmmakers are used as the skeptical eyes of the average person and are given such fun (and funny) instructions as bathing with "troll-smell" and making sure they had none of that dirty Christianity left inside of them (apparently trolls can smell Christian blood, and believe me they sure do like to devour them first). This band of “warriors” goes about their business (one hunting trolls, the others documenting whatever they see) with a smooth efficiency and of course inevitable tragedy. Full of beautiful scenery of the Norwegian countryside and a full array of surprisingly good special effects of the monsters themselves, and with an acerbic tongue-in-cheek attitude toward storytelling, Troll Hunter is a cool blend of pop moviemaking and dark-humoured satire (of both the genre and of society itself) that works pleasingly as a peach as pure entertainment. Of course now we are inevitably left with a palpable sense of dread as the American remake (rights already procured) is soon on its way. [06/26/11]