Photo courtesy of Creative Commons by Zermie
Billed as a horror movie, the Norwegian-made Troll Hunter is a little too thoughtful to fit firmly in that category. Instead it is that most rare and precious of creations, the low budget Indie film that transcends its genre.
Filmed in the handheld mockumentary style of the Blair Witch Project and Cloverfield, the action centres on three College students investigating a spate of suspicious bear attacks. They encounter a mysterious woodsman and decide to follow him north into Norway’s frozen wilderness.
The fairytale landscape of the Norwegian fjords sets the scene for the trolls, an otherwise laughable foe. Their appearance 20 minutes into the film is genuinely scary, but as the plot develops, so do the trolls. From foul-smelling beasts at first sight they become yet another animal species under threat.
The agent of this transformation is Hans, the Troll Hunter, brilliantly played by Otto Jespersen. His understanding of the trolls and their behaviour, and distaste for his role as exterminator, makes realistic the hero versus monster cliché.
There is black humour, too. The trolls are enraged by the smell of people who believe in God, a facet of the Norwegian troll legends that in a modern setting confers on religion the same status as myth.
Exploring themes as diverse as a changing national identity, the destructive power of nature and the even more destructive power of man Troll Hunter is a beautifully paced film that delivers thrills and prompts thought.
Troll Hunter is out on DVD and Blu-Ray now.