By Kevin Clare ‘Claratsi‘
Plot: Three Norwegian students are investigating suspicious bear killings when they begin to shadow the movements of a mysterious ‘hunter’.
They soon learn that he is no mere tracker and his quarry is far more dangerous than typical wilderness creatures.
Norwegian, with English subtitles and audio.
Rock and Troll!
Trolls only exist in fairy tales, right? Think again!
Troll Hunter begins with the inevitable ‘real’ video footage testimony, which dissatisfies slightly these days after now having over two decades of the supposed steady cam genre, pioneered by The Blair Witch Project and carried on by Cloverfield and REC.
Happily, this is only a small gripe as Troll Hunter is an enjoyable monster ride.
The students begin to monitor the movements of a locally known caravan dwelling hunter, whose initial dismissals do nothing to deter the naive students from their curiosity, but we all know what curiosity did.
Sheer persistence leads them into the wilderness where the hunter’s real prey is stunningly revealed.
We soon realise that there are more to trolls than just what we believe from fairy tales and here begins a tremendously fun and stunning troll hunt which leads us into some terrific and sometimes terrifying encounters.
The trolls are fantastically brought to life with seamless CGI, terrific sound and superb creature design. Splendidly giving these predators their own characteristics and features with more realism than the lesser garden varieties seen in Lord Of The Rings and Harry Potter.
It is the unique design that gives real belief in these creatures, which is later supported with a believable scientific insight that trolls are more than mere creatures but are a vulnerable living species that “eat, s**t and mate”.
It is the lone troll hunter’s job to control their movements; possibly for their own good, not just ours.
It’s our hunter, Hans, who provides the gripping and often hilarious insights into the variety of behaviour and long history of trolls. And he’s more than just the stereotypical veteran.
His vague back story provides a past glimpse of his suitability as “someone who could” hunt trolls and a remorseful history that suggests he is not just a brutal slayer.
This guy lives and breathes his work but is also just a frustrated employee, having his own axe to grind, which self-justifies his agreement to allow his responsibilities to be recorded.
The Norwegian Landscapes look beautiful and may well turn out to be next on your list of holiday destinations. Bleak, haunting and open snowy backdrops provide tremendous scale for our troll battlefields.
The students are realistic, more believable and likeable than the polished protagonists of Cloverfield, marching on with a charming adventurous spirit, buoyed by the euphoria and realisation from their first troll pursuit, which is then slowly eroded away by each sapping troll encounter. It is Hans, however, who is the true human star of the show.
A fantastic climactic pursuit echoes the rear view mirror perspective of the iconic T-Rex assault of Jurassic Park and so comparisons with other monster mashes are inevitable.
But Troll hunter manages to feel more unique, striving for a more believable tone, putting meat on the bones of troll fables; they have always existed in the real world, in many unique forms and are nothing like the unknown other world invaders we have seen before.
Troll Hunter masterfully brings the troll myth to life with some stunning action and amazing unique creatures, and it’s a believable monster ride that may also do wonders for Norwegian tourism.
Just don’t book any place near to massive electricity pylons – you may get more from your holiday than just a dodgy T-Shirt!