FrightFest Review: Troll Hunter

It seems fair to say so that The Blair Witch Project has a lot to answer for. Not only did it usher a new era of horror movie making which was starting to enjoy another renaissance. But it also spawned imitators and successors in equal measure.

The best of the ‘horror mockumentary’ bunch being the supremely amazing Spanish horror  [REC.] and [REC.2]. Now we are blessed (or some might say cursed) with Norwegian monster feature Troll Hunter. It’s a high concept film which really shouldn’t work; a bunch of film school graduates look for the infamous troll hunter and his secret profession. When they are allowed to film him at his job, things take a turn for the, altogether, stranger.

While it does enough to keep it interesting, starting at a break neck pace and rarely slowing down except towards its abrupt climax (more on that later). Is it enough to get the critical praise that has been lavished on it?

Yes and no. I’ll admit that throughout its brief running time, its flashes of originality kept me hooked and transfixed on the events which unfolded. The various trolls that make appearances are plentiful and one never feels cheated through lack of trolly action (have I just misused a word?). We are treated to three-headed trolls which turn to stone, hairy big nosed trolls which sniff out the blood of a Christian man, trolls that live under bridges (a personal favorite and one which leads to one of the film’s best moments) and one gigantic mountain troll. One which would without a doubt make Peter Jackson green with envy.

The troll hunter himself (played with a dry wit by Otto Jespersen) is certainly my new favorite anti-hero, with his kick-ass (but battered) truck and extensive troll defense weaponry. The moment he dresses head to toe in metal armor (like some kind of disgruntled aged knight) to take on a rather unpleasant bridge troll, leads to one of the films many highlights. Head banging heavy metal takes on an all new meaning as man goes head to head with troll.

It also contains many moments of dark comedy and is possibly one of the only films in recent memory which turns flatulence into a moment of tension filled dread and violence. While it’s climactic giant snow troll, really is epic and awe inspiring. It’s just a shame about the sorely lacking subplot about rabies and a naff ending. Otherwise this would be one of the best features I have seen for quite some time.

If you can forgive the ending (which is aiming so blatantly at a sequel), then there is much to enjoy from Troll Hunter. Like trolls? Wish there was more action films containing the crazy beasts? Then catch Troll Hunter when it’s released on Sept 9th.

Troll Hunter is screening at FrightFest this weekend on Saturday 27th August at 11am.

Dominic O’Brien

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