From the outset Troll Hunter seems a promising film. The story documents a group of teenagers who begin investigating a series of strange wildlife killings, only to discover that a mysterious hunter, thought to be a poacher, is actually a troll hunter.
I was curious to see director and writer André Øvredal attempt to make a feature length film about mythical creatures, without straying into too much of fantasy or sci-fi territory. Not an easy task, but Øvredal handled the theme with plenty of skill, achieving a good balance between keeping the plot both intriguing but also simple to follow. What really made the film though, was Øvredal’s use of a documentary style, complete with full disclaimers. The relatively unknown cast also deserve praise for their acting, particularly Otto Jespersen who plays Hans the troll hunter – he gave the film a human and authentic feel, and his sympathy for the plight of the trolls was something that could be felt by the audience.
Of course the film wouldn’t be very much without the trolls themselves and here the computer imagery comes into its own. CGI genuinely serves its purpose of providing stunning visual effects and thus enhancing the audience’s enjoyment of the film (somewhat a rariety I’m finding these days as most films generally seek to out do the next with a dizzying array of visuals and graphics that often leave the audience wanting a breather). However Troll Hunter succeeds by keeping the CGI minimal, thus creating visually stunning and very ‘realistic’ (for want of a better word!) trolls.
If there is one critique of the film, it would be its length. Whilst Øvredal manages to capture the imagination of the audience, there were occasional places where the pace slightly lagged, and though the Norwegian landscape is stunning there were times when the many shots of mountains and forests became slightly wearing.
Yet overall the film was gripping and enjoyable, easily captivating the audience’s collective imagination.