Wednesday, October 2, 2013

31 Days of Horror: Trollhunter (2010)

Director:  André Øvredal

Writer:  André Øvredal

Starring: Otto Jespersen, Hans Morten Hansen, Tomas Alf Larsen, Johanna Mørck, Knut Nærum, Robert Stoltenberg, Glenn Erland Tosterud

Summary: Trollhunter follows a group of Norwegian film students who are shadowing Hans, a professional hunter who tracks down and eliminates real-life trolls for the government agency known as the Troll Security Service, who do everything they can to keep the public ignorant of the troll menace.

The Good: As I've mentioned before, I am really not a fan of the "found footage" genre. Like 3-D, I see "found footage" as a gimmick that filmmakers use to make something seem more "real" when the actual style adds very little to the film. Thankfully, Trollhunter's director knows how to use the vérité and uses it well. Like The Bay, Trollhunter is shot as if its a documentary, which gives a ready explanation for the camera's presence. Also, since the documentary crew is supposed to be a couple of college students who have never made a documentary before, the questionable cinematography can be forgiven. 

The basic concept that acts as the foundation of the film is really interesting. While its not a very original premise, its still fun to see what it would be like if trolls actually existed. Being someone who loves folklore and mythology, it was cool to see the trolls retain their weakness to sunlight, their rock-based appetite, and the ability to smell the blood of a Christian. Its also interesting to learn how the trollhunter Hans hunts these creatures and learn how the Troll Security Service (TSS for short) keeps their existence a secret. After watching the film, I want to know more about these trolls, the TSS, and if similar organizations and other trollhunters exist around the world. 

Speaking of trollhunters, the character of Hans is rather intriguing as well. The character comes off as a weary warrior who is growing tired of the fight and sees the chance to finally come clean about the secrets he's been keeping when these college students who up, wanting to film him. Otter Jespersen plays the character perfectly, the tired nature of the character coming through clearly thanks to Jespersen's performance and posture throughout the film. He is easily the best thing in this film.

The Bad: While this is probably the result of a low budget, the CGI effects in the film are rather poor. They aren't horrible and they get the job done, but I always felt myself draw out of the film almost every time one of the trolls was on screen. The only exception was the Jotnar at the end of the film, which was pretty well done.

Besides Hans, the other characters in the film are rather bland or one-note. When Hans wasn't the focus of the film, I found myself not really caring about any of the other characters and just wanting to get back to Hans and his situation.

Conclusion: While the CGI is rather lackluster and most of the characters are rather bland, Trollhunters is saved by an interesting concept, good execution, and a very interesting main character. If you like monster movies and want to see one with an interesting take on the situation, give Trollhunter a watch.

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