Otto Jespersen, Tomas Alf Larsen, Johanna Mørck, Glenn Erland Tosterud, Hans Morten Hansen
Thomas: “Once we get what we need, we can go back. It would be so awesome to get him to talk.”
Kalle: “We have tried, plenty of times.”
Thomas: “Do you think Michael Moore gave up after the first try??”
A trio of college students is doing a documentary about a possible bear poacher. They follow the man, Hans (Jespersen), hoping to catch him in the act. They get more than they bargain for when they discover that Hans is actually working with the government to cover up the existence of trolls.
No, we are not talking about internet trolls here. Though, it might have been a better movie if it featured a grizzled army veteran hunting down those obnoxious teens in their basement and bringing an end to their online annoyances.
Instead, we have real trolls to deal with. Well, real in the sense that legends might be real. These are very large, lumbering creatures that wreak havoc across the Norwegian countryside due to their size alone. They aren’t monsters whose sole purpose is to kill humans – though they will if you get in their territory. They are simply a form of mammal that happen to live for over 1,000 years.
The question of how they’ve avoided being noticed by the general public all this time is brought up in the movie, and the answer seems to be that a) the government is covering up their existence, and b) the trolls generally keep to themselves and Norway has a lot of remote caves, mountains, and forests for them to hide in.
The fearless troll hunter goes into action whenever one of these beasts ventures too far out of its territory. Speaking of Hans, I like the way he’s played here. There’s not a single laugh or wry smile to be seen, even though you’d expect that sort of thing from a character that is basically this movie’s equivalent of Captain Quint from Jaws. He’s simply a tired tired man who has grown weary after so many years doing a job that nobody else is willing, or capable, of doing. He lets this film crew tag along with him because he thinks it’s time that people know about the trolls. His boss does not agree.
If Hans is Captain Quint, then the film crew is Chief Brody. They know it’s important that they be along for the ride, but they are appropriately terrified by what they have to go through to get the footage they need. Thankfully, though, these 3 characters are actually quite tolerable. Usually in these faux documentaries, the characters are obnoxious complainers (I blame Blair Witch for starting that trend). In this case, Thomas (Tosterud), Johanna (Mørck), and Kalle (Larsen) are scared, but excitedly determined, instead of whiny and argumentative.
So, the good things about the movie are its characters, the way it presents the trolls in a scientific manner, and some absolutely stunningly beautiful views of the Norwegian landscape. My main problem with the film is probably the fact that I’m growing a little tired of the fake documentary format. Thankfully it’s not a jittery handheld camcorder this time around, but the whole format is still distracting. With such an outlandish premise, why not just go for a full-on dramatic movie? Why the beginning and ending title cards claiming it’s all real? Why limit yourself so much? It could be for budgetary reasons, but I can’t say for sure.
Maybe the problem was that the footage looked TOO good, TOO smooth, TOO cinematic. It created a sort of documentary/fiction hybrid, as far as the tone was concerned. It was hard to buy it as a documentary because it didn’t LOOK like a documentary.
Overall, the movie just felt a little flat to me. The special effects ranged from great to so-so, and the story just progressed along the exact paths you’d expect it to – big troll, bigger troll, group of big trolls, biggest troll. Not a whole lot of surprises.
I suppose I learned a thing or two about trolls, but…well, I doubt I’ll be using that information in my daily life any time soon…unless I travel to Norway…
Don’t feed the trolls.
10 – 1 because I’m a little tired of the documentary format – 2.3 because it just feels kind of boring and repetitive + .1 for all the beautiful scenic images = 6.8