Am I feverish? My head kinda hurts. Maybe I’m not getting enough iron in my diet. Whatever the reason, I just spent the past hour and forty minutes watching a Norwegian film called Troll Hunter. I guess it was really a slippery slope that led me here, today, just three weeks into my self-imposed bad movie October exile, and a movie called Troll Hunter seemed about as far down on the ‘terrible movie idea’ pay scale as I could find. I almost turned it off in the first thirty seconds, when it became apparent that they were going with a Blair Witch storytelling style, but at that point I had already thrown my Xbox controller off the couch, so there was no going back.
Actually, in terms of plot, Blair Witch and Troll Hunter start out identically. We don’t get a huge roll of credits at the beginning of this movie. Nor do we actually see the words “Troll Hunter” dramatically splayed across the screen to let us know what’s up. What we do get is a back screen with some yellow words that somberly set the stage. One day, some digital footage arrived at this humble film company. The film has not been altered in any way, and no one is quite sure how it got there. The films have been analyzed, and top sources have determined that they are 100 percent, completely and utterly legit.
This isn’t a fantasy film, they tell us. Oh no. This is REAL.
Of course, since you know damn well the film is called Troll Hunter because presumably you either have a copy or clicked on it in Netflix like I did, it kind of loses some of that mystery.
The film opens with three college students who are hell bent on making a documentary. About what? I couldn’t quite figure that out. Poaching, I think. Some bears show up dead around Norway, and that’s a pretty big deal. The only college student whose name I remember is Thomas, because he’s the one that gets the most face time and therefore has his name shouted about four thousand times. He’s apparently played by Glenn Erland Tosterud, according to IMDB. Rounding out the merry band of idiots is token female sound girl Johanna Mørck, and the neigh invisible Tomas Alf Larsen, who is usually the one running the camera so you hardly ever see him.
You might have picked this up just from the names, but this film is completely in Norwegian. I think the last film I watched that was in subtitles was in college, maybe, if not sooner, so this was a weird change of pace for me. The problem is that like the Blair Witch Project, Troll Hunter has more of a natural dialogue feel, so at times you actually have characters talking over top of each other and makes subtitles somewhat useless.
Granted, a lot of the dialogue is usually about trolls and the existence of, but you get what I mean.
Anyway, these three college students start tailing a supposed poacher by the name of Hans, played by Otto Jespersen, who in short order is found up to his eyeballs in trolls. Well, not eyeballs. Trolls are a lot bigger than that. It’s Hans’ job to take these big lumbering assholes out if they stray too far away from their usual territories and dousing them in UV light in order to turn them to stone. Or, you know, cause them to blow up.
He does this because the NORWEGIAN GOVERNMENT does not want us to know anything about trolls! What a bunch of jerks, right guys! By monopolizing all of the knowledge about trolls, the government can effectively… uh… they can… well, I mean I guess it’s feasible that they could use that information to… huh.
Yeah, the logic didn’t make a whole lot of sense. Trolls are dumb so they can’t be weaponized, and they have a tendency to fly off the handle a bit when they smell the blood of a Christian nearby so you can’t employ them as ushers at church. Also, they smell awful and blow up in sunlight. I don’t think Norway is looking toward a deep, enriched future by converting all money to the troll standard.
I’d say that’s about all the plot I’m giving you here, but in retrospect, that’s actually about all the plot there is. So, sorry if I spoiled it. Then again, this is all information you probably could have gathered by looking at the first picture I posted. Why the hell did I spend time writing all that?
See, I almost turned this film off because I was worried that because of how Blair Witchy this film seemed to be, it would quickly devolve into a lot of jerky camera work and zoomed in close shots of scared people faces. I determined that just because ONE film did that doesn’t mean they all will and gave it a shot… and yeah, there was a lot of jerky camera work and scared people faces. There isn’t an ending so much as there is just another wall of text following the video footage, followed by the credit roll and some heavy metal music which caught me off guard since there really wasn’t a soundtrack in this film at all.
There is one good thing about this film. It’s virtually impossible to make a film in Norway, even without the crappiest camera available, and to make a film that isn’t gorgeous. Most of the scenery is shown through the windshield of a car while the students chug along into destiny, but even that can’t screw up the Norwegian scenery. Norway is a beautiful place. I’d go myself, if there weren’t all these secret trolls messing the place up.
Anyway, that’s about it for this week’s crappy movie. Neat fact: I was actually going to force myself to slog through GI JOE to review this week, but watched this instead. I strangely feel like I spent my time better with this, actually.