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Troll Hunter - Review

Troll Hunter

Review by Rob Carnevale

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

NORWEGIAN director Andre Ovredal’s Troll Hunter may operate from the same rulebook as the likes of The Blair Witch Project and Cloverfield in its use of the mock documentary device but it remains a fun and inventive entry into the genre in its own right.

Set amid the country’s stunning fjords and forests, the film also takes delight in subverting some classic fairytale elements and delivering a set of vividly realised trolls that combine dark humour with a mounting sense of danger.

The film focuses on a trio of filmmaking students – nerdy Declan Donnelly look-alike Glenn Erland Tosterud, sound recordist Johanna Morck and camera-man Tomas Alf Larsen – as they stumble upon a mysterious alleged poacher named Hans (Otto Jespersen) and start following him to expose what he’s really up to.

Although dismissive of them at first, Hans eventually agrees to allow them to accompany them on his mission, thereby exposing the truth about the existence of trolls to the chagrin of the authority figures desperate to keep them secret.

The subsequent ‘found footage’ is laden with death-defying troll encounters as the intrepid gang seek to find out why they have broken out of their territory.

Former commercials director Ovredal clearly knows his way around the genre and neatly combines the often comic interplay between his engaging central characters with set pieces that move from tense and difficult to see to brazenly spectacular.

It means that the over-familiarity that comes from certain aspects of the film’s structure is more than compensated by the ‘thrill’ of going troll hunting.

The trolls themselves are terrific value and distinct in their own right, working overtime to dispel the more commonly held associations with them, which are also cleverly stripped away by the insights afforded into their behaviour and history by Jespersen’s cynical Hans (a cult hero in the making).

It means that Ovredal’s film always has something to offer in terms of fascination, even when pausing to catch its breath.

Needless to say, a Hollywood remake is already in the works, which only serves to underline the film’s crowd-pleasing values and the fact that it has learned from its contemporaries well.

But we’d advise you to see it in its purest form first as this is a frequently clever, often amusing, sometimes terrifying and downright enjoyable thrill-ride that deserves to find a global appreciation of its own.

In Norwegian, with subtitles

Watch the trailer:

Certificate: 15
Running time: 104mins
UK Release Date: September 9, 2011