TrollHunter is a Norwegian dark fantasy that uses the shaky camera method to tell a faux documentary about a man that works for the government to keep the troll population in check, namely stopping them from harming or being viewed by the public. A small group of college students track down the man, who they believe to be a bear poacher, wishing to expose his crimes on camera. They, naturally, get much more than they bargain for when they find out his real profession. The man agrees to let them tag along. he is weary of his job and the of the fact that he has had to bear the secrets of his profession so long.
Like Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale, TrollHunter takes a pretty absurd premise and approaches it with a serious face. The documentary style filming works to the advantage, special effects are used sparingly. Plenty is left to our imagination, a far more powerful tool than anything special effects has produced. Though effects are used little in comparison to other monster movies, we’re still given a satisfactory number of views of the titular beasts, albeit often times a little blurry. The movie is just as much a drama as it is a suspense or action film. Hans, the man that hunts the trolls, is a very interesting character. He’s essentially a mix between a secret agent and a park ranger. The incredible premise of hunting trolls appears to him a mundane task that he approaches with a high level of routine and habit. His troubles are only increased when he allows the students to follow him, which permeates the film with even more drama and plenty of room for character flaws and errors that put the whole group in danger.
The sparring use of special effects gives more room for story and character development, focusing on the film as a whole rather than the shiny polished look of a blockbuster. However, the film, despite it’s often gritty appearance, is excellently constructed, it’s scary when it should be and funny when it intends to be. the premise and title are certainly worth a chuckle, but the film on its own merits is powerful enough to draw you in and hold your attention for it’s entire run time.
The movie gets a little confusing at points, but not to the point of frustration. Rather the confusion ads to the larger than life premise, troll hunting, despite Hans efforts, is not an exact science that the audience should hope to grasp while watching it. Too often I tend to feel the need to fully understand the mechanics of the world in which a movie places itself, however if the characters aren’t even 100 percent sure, why should I be? TrollHunter throws both the characters and the viewers in the middle of something that has been going on for a very long time, it gives us plenty of information, but leaves us guessing and interested in a profession that would be simultaneously awesome and terrifying; a Troll Hunter