Norway’s foray into the world of found-footage horror films is “The Troll Hunter,” a sometimes fun horror adventure film about a group of intrepid college reporters who uncover a government plot to keep the public from knowing trolls exist. Like “Cloverfield” before it, this film uses shaky video camera style cinematography with awesome CGI affects to make you feel like you’re in the middle of the action. But “The Troll Hunter” stumbles mightily when there’s no trolls to be had and we’re stuck with a bunch of troll talk, pointless and perfunctory character arcs and development added to a lot of nauseating running around with a video camera.
Finn, Kalle and Johanna (Hansen, Larsen, Mørck) are on a field assignment to unmask a bear poacher in the mountains of Norway. The government only allows sanctioned bear hunters to kill wild bears but someone else is getting in on the action and there’s quite a controversy boiling. The trio thinks they have their poacher when they find a stoic, evasive man in a nearby campground and they proceed to follow him on late night excursions. Yet soon they discover the man isn’t poaching bears at all but rather, he’s hunting trolls that have broken their pact to stay within their areas. Trolls are gigantic, nasty things that stink badly and can sniff out the blood of a Christian man from far away. The troll hunter allows the group to document him at work and away we go on a fairly fun adventure that unfortunately gets bogged down throughout.
The best parts of “The Troll Hunter” are when the trolls appear and attack. They look awesome as they tower over trees and knock them over in pursuit of those who would do them harm. The filmmakers have adopted the classic troll look and these ones have big bulbous noses and eyes. Their teeth look like craggly rocks and they are none too pleased to be discovered by humans. But in between that, we find out more about the troll hunter and he’s frankly not very interesting. The plot lines involving the ineptitude of the Norwegian government is funny but that note is singular and played throughout. There’s also a storyline involving one of the documentarians who gets bit by a troll that you think is going to go somewhere and it just never does.
I hate reviews where writers offer opinions on the length of a film so I feel like a hypocrite saying this but, “The Troll Hunter” needs to tighten up. At just over 100 minutes the film begs to be a down and dirty adventure that clocks in at no more than an hour and a half. I truly admire the CGI work here and I love the way the filmmakers are playing off a classic Norwegian myth, but one should never feel bored in a movie with such a great storyline and title.