TrollHunter (2010) - TrollHunter takes the Scandinavian myths and brings them to life in a surprisingly entertaining film. It is a slow starter but with enough leaking of information to keep the viewer interested. Thomas (Glenn Erland Tosterud), Johanna (Johanna Morck) and Kalle (Tomas Alf Larsen) are a group of college students investigating bear poaching and hunting in Norway. In particular they are following a man named Hans (Otto Jespersen) suspected of poaching. The film spend a fair amount of time having the students attempt to get Hans into an interview. Hans at first wants nothing to do with them but after a lot of staking him out and following him he starts to interact with them. He only agrees after spilling that he hunts trolls. They had followed him out into the forest one night and find his empty car. Off in the distance are sounds and flashes of light. Hans comes running out of the darkness and yells for them to run and "TROLL!" The troll takes out the kids car and when they find it need a ride from Hans. They still have seen nothing and this guy could just be a crazy. Even after Thomas is bitten by a troll as they flee he thinks it may have been a bear. This is really the first third of the movie and it is a bit slow. The filmmaker Andre Ovredal does a nice job only slowly revealing the monsters.
Things pick up when they get to go along on a the hunt. Hans again leaves them and goes off to face a troll. He is armed with a light gun which plays into the myths, where trolls turn to stone in the sunlight. The students are left at the vehicle wondering if this is a goose chase. When Hans comes running out of the forest screaming for them to haul ass they are treated and terrified with their first up close and personal troll experience. The combination of night vision camera shots and CGI troll are very effective. We are with Kalle the camera man for the scene and boy does he just get away by the skin of his teeth. The honest reunion when the group finds each other after the episode is also refreshing. It is excited and relief at the same time. The crew has seen what they thought was only myth. They had a very close and dangerous encounter and come out unharmed. Well done scene.
It is great that this film also touches upon beliefs about the government in its plot. We learn that Hans works for the government, a hunter that is doing his job controlling the troll population. After he kills any troll that leaves it's territory and comes in contact with humans or domesticated animals. They are predatory animals and need to be controlled. After the kill Hans calls the wildlife service bureaucrat Finn to come in and make the troubled area seem like an area where there is bear activity. The idea is to keep the trolls existence secret. Finn (Hans Morten Hansen) comes in and sets up a bear caucus that will be found and made the scapegoat. Later when the group goes to a electricity provider about some downed wired, there is an amusing scene where the unquestioning employee explains how the power lines that the power travels out from the plant in a giant circle and back to the plant. Hans explains later that the wires are actually an electric fence to keep trolls in a particular territory.
The film really is pretty enjoyable and build on the troll myths by giving answers to how and why trolls are killed by sunlight. They really take the time to allow the audience to have a full story. This while there are encounters with several different kinds of troll. There is a great scene when the group while investigating a report of troll activity get caught in the cave that is inhabited by a clan of trolls. It is a wonderfully tense and frightening scene, with the hairy penis nosed trolls.
The final expedition out into the north of Norway is against a giant troll and whether or not the crew will come out of it alive is in play. Overall this was a very competently done film with an interesting story that takes a set of myths and builds on them creating an accessible modern myth. The scares are decent and the CGI very expertly done.
Rating (7.0) 5.0 and up are recommended