As a kid I loved Godzilla movies. Whether he was stomping across a city, battling with Mothra, you name it, I was in front of the TV watching the action unfold. Even as an adult, I still have an appreciation for films with oversized foes. The Norwegian film Trollhunter (a.k.a. Trolljegeren) fits that bill nicely.
Abnormal animal activities have been detected in the forests and mountains and the Wildlife Board are blaming bears. Local hunters are fearful that this is the work of a poacher. The mockumentary film follows a trio of college students who take to the road, with camera in tow, to investigate the strange happenings and to locate the suspected hunter. Their search bears fruit when they discover a hermit-like man named Hans. Despite his attempts to avoid contact he eventually agrees to speak to the filmmakers and allow them to accompany him into the woods to see first-hand what is really afoot. Hans reveals that he’s a disgruntled government employee who was hired to be a troll exterminator. And that yes, trolls are indeed real and very dangerous. The viewers are then taken on an adventure to learn about the characteristics of trolls, what is required to keep the general public oblivious to the fact that they exist, and the unsung hero who’s keeping everyone safe.
Trollhunter writer/director André Øvredal created the film as an homage to Norwegian culture. Not only did he want to feature the beautiful natural scenery but he also wanted to share the mythology of horrific trolls that fill their fairy tales. And to ensure that the film stayed true to a documentary feel Øvredal had a written screenplay, but had the actors improvise the entire movie after his setting of the scene for each shoot. And I must say this come across very well on screen.
Overall this is a fully entertaining film. The creatures are interesting to see, and you find yourself wanting to learn more alongside the students. You also come to appreciate the brave man who risks his life daily for the sake of others. You never quite know where your adventure will take you or what terrors await, but it’s worth the risk.
Now keep in mind that this film isn’t terrifying horror by any means. But it does offer action and suspense packaged with disturbing monsters. So if you like creature features, and can handle subtitling, you’re in for a fun ride.