Monday 12 September 2011


(André Øvredal, 2010)

Displaying all of the strengths and all of the weaknesses of the "found footage" horror sub-genre, Troll Hunter is based around a clever little idea. Trolls exist in Norway, and the Government there employs a Hunter to control outbreaks from Troll territories while covering up their existence with stories of bear attacks and natural phenomena. The film then, purports to be the footage captured by a trio of students who follow the Hunter, believing him to be a poacher. Only he is sick of his lonely, brutal, underpaid job, and quite keen to share the trolls' existence with the world...
Øvredal's film is most notable for the droll humour throughout, alongside the incredible, bleak beauty of the wild Norwegian landscapes. The plot is the usual episodic trail familiar from other found footage films, marked by an unmistakeable "and then" quality. The Hunter and students encounter a series of trolls in various locations and these sequences are mostly quite effective; the effects are fine, the trolls nicely designed and cleverly conceived, the emotions of the characters believable - from initial euphoria at the existence of the creatures to stark terror - and the scale of the narrative builds steadily throughout. But there is no tension or suspense, nothing in the least scary - a devastating flaw in a horror film - and little emotional attachment to the characters. It's a minor genre film, neat and efficient for the most part, but lacking in depth or resonance.

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