Available on VOD, in theaters June 10
“Trollhunter,” written and directed by Andre Overdal, 103 minutes.
Just when you thought you’d seen every type of found-footage movie imaginable, Norwegian filmmaker Andre Overdal takes the subgenre in an unexpected direction with “Trollhunter.”
Three student filmmakers (Glenn Erland Tosterud, Johanna Morck, Thomas Alf Larsen), investigating a rash of suspicious bear deaths, stalk a mysterious poacher (Otto Jesperson) in an effort to get an interview. They get much more than they bargained for.
As the hunter begins to cooperate, the three discover that the bear deaths are in fact part of the Norwegian government’s coverup of … trolls?
Yes. Trolls. Bear with me.
The trolls from Overdal’s imagination aren’t the same ones that come out of fairy tales. Instead, they’re grotesque, tree-sized predators who only use their sense of smell, and love feeding on Christians.
The crew follows the government-hired hunter into prime troll territory, where the three come face-to-face with the fabled creatures, trying to film and stay alive while dodging the Norwegian government’s henpecking the whole way.
“Trollhunter” may sound absurd, like something that would be played up as camp, but it never really does.
Much like fellow Norwegian filmmaker Tommy Wirkola’s “Dead Snow,” a movie about Nazi zombies, Overdal’s “Trollhunter” is surprisingly reserved for a premise that begs to be exploited. Instead, Overdal creates something more evocative of modern Hollywood monster movies (such as “Cloverfield” or even “Independence Day”) replacing New York’s skyscrapers with the lush, beautiful Norwegian countryside.
What’s even more unexpected is that the special effects on this import (made for about $3 million) are as good, if not better, than most of what comes out of Hollywood. Overdal creates trolls that are original and organic, a strong deterrent for any of that potential campiness.
There are holes, however. Lots of them. But they’re deliberately placed, because under its entertaining skin there is some vague political satire over the extensive power lines running through Norway. Like any good monster movie, “Trollhunter” wants you to be curious and ask questions. But most of all, it aims to amuse – and it does.
Yes, I’ve had my fill of found-footage movies, but for “Trollhunter,” it works. The film is entertaining enough and smart enough to keep from drowning in the sea of faux documentaries.