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December 4, 2012 / magickittenblogs

Troll Hunter: less horror, more fun

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We’ve instituted Film Night chez nous, which is, in theory, every Sunday evening, except when we’re out or we’re too tired to stay away past 9pm (which is worryingly often).  Our most recent watch was Troll Hunter, my pick as I enjoy a good creature feature horror film and am mildly obsessed with anything Scandinavian at the moment.

We weren’t quite sure what to expect, as Troll Hunter has has mixed reviews. However, I was pleasantly surprised to see a film with an interesting combination of found footage, scares and jumps but also plenty of humour too.

The film opens with the premise that a bear has been found shot, but not by any of the local licensed hunters, and fingers are pointed at a newcomer, who may or may not be a poacher.  Some students from the local college, working on a media project, are recording events and try to interview this poacher without success.  They follow his old battered 4×4 and trailer to a caravan park and then out down a mysterious track into the woods that night.  They’re about to make their way into the undergrowth when the man runs back out, yelling “TROLL!”

At first the young people can’t believe their ears but, as they continue their adventure, they find out that their whole view of their country may be wrong, and that creatures they thought were fairytales are real, except much more dangerous.

Troll Hunter doesn’t try to be an all-out fightfest; rather, its scares are occasional but well-used to show us different types of troll, each posing a different danger to the group.  I also thought darkness was used to good effect, both in terms of the practical sense, creating suspense through being unable to see what’s sneaking up on you, and also because the trolls in this story are traditional – they can only come out at night, otherwise they effectively turn to stone. There’s plenty of peril for the young people.  One of the young men is bitten, and becomes progressively more ill as the film carries on. We’re warned that trolls can smell Christian blood (remember the fairytale rhymes?), which could put them at risk.  

In contrast, the film also purports to give us an insight into the beaurocracy that might be associated with trying to control a dangerous animal while also trying to hide its existence from the public.  These moments were great fun; I particularly enjoyed the harrassed civil servant trying to order the right type of dead bear from a Polish wheeler-dealer, as a cover for a troll attack.

Troll Hunter isn’t going to change the world; it’s not hugely original or groundbreaking.  However, it’s a fun, exciting, enjoyable watch with some tense moments and jumps, which people with any interest in monsters or fairytales should enjoy.

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