A group of students investigates a series of mysterious bear killings, but learns that there are much more dangerous things going on. They start to follow a mysterious hunter, learning that he is actually a troll hunter.
When bears are found dead in Norway, students from Volda University (Thomas, Johanna and cameraman Kalle) decide to investigate. They stalk the trail of the mysterious hunter Hans, expecting to find an explanation for the killings. The reluctant Hans tries to flee from the youngsters but then agrees to let them film him in action, provided they follow his orders. Soon the trio of students learns that Hans is actually a troll hunter working for a secret government agency. Further, several dangerous trolls have escaped from their territory and Hans is assigned to eliminate them.Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
I sincerely want to love Troll Hunter, the latest in a batch of Scandinavian horror movies that have been shipped stateside. I want to love it for its tense cat and mouse moments, I want to love it for its impressive ideas towards shaky cam cinematography, and most of all I want to love it for the trolls themselves, massive behemoths scouring the Norwegian countryside for a stray sheep or unsuspecting college student. Unfortunately, Troll Hunter is a mixed bag that brings down the good with an abundance of the bad. The film starts out with a group of doe-eyed college students who have been sent to investigate a recent influx of bear poaching, perpetrated by a mysterious man with an initial aversion to cameras and a camper full of bizarre equipment. It doesn't take long for this shady character to reveal his mission to the students: he is in fact a "Trolljegeren", a government hired Troll Hunter who ensures the illusive creatures existence is kept unknown by tracking down and killing any trolls that stray from their territorial boundaries. The students take this shocking revelation quite well, and agree to follow the hunter as he tries to decipher the new found aggressiveness of trolls in the area.
The plot is simple, and passes up time that could be spent trying to establish logical character motivation in favor of lightly comic scenes and exposition regarding the biology and history of the trolls. This is not entirely a bad thing for most of the movie, as director André Øvredal keeps things going smoothly, pushing the audience from one impressive set piece to another. Many of the troll encounters are tense and breathtaking at the same time, and one cannot help but marvel at the sight of a troll chasing our hapless heroes. This is largely due to the impressive low budget CGI used throughout the film and surprisingly smooth camera-work, ditching the tiresome technique of flinging the camera left and right (as one would most likely do in real life, to be fair) in favor of steady shots that allows the audience to marvel at the beasts without sacrificing the tension gained through shaky cam cinematography. The trolls themselves look amazing, by far some of the most imaginative and well rendered budget movie magic I have seen in a long time, especially coupled with the beautiful Norwegian scenery.
Sadly, despite all the praise I have heaped upon Troll Hunter, the movie isn't without its flaws. The film falls flat on its face several times, whether it is caused by overly bland exposition or painfully unfunny comedy that pops up throughout the film. These lulls aren't so bad in the first half, but become incredibly agitating in the second as the viewer waits for a payoff that refuses to rear its ugly head. Also to note is the films general sloppiness in the final act, in which multiple characters are introduced without purpose, are never given an exit, and don't fit at all within the story. Finally, the film arrives at a conclusion that is incredibly odd, as characters are dismissed without any closure to their arcs and events begin to happen that are head- scratchingly misplaced. Although many of these gripes cripple what could have been one of the best sci-fi movies of the New Year, Troll Hunter is still a fun but flawed ride with enjoyable scenes and some great visuals.
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