The Troll Hunter (2010)

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Overall Rating 71%
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Ranked #1,930
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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. --IMDb
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Review by Crispy
Added: October 19, 2011
All it took was one trailer before I moved Trollhunter to the top of my queue. Even after I found out it used that cinema verite technique that I've never been fond of, I still had high hopes for it. Turns out that the final product was nothing that I was expecting.

Shown entirely through the lens of a group of college students (narrator Thomas, sound engineer Johanna, and cameraman Kalle), these amateur film makers are making a documentary on Hans, a local bear poacher. He's perked up some considerable interest with the bear hunting community since the tracks and species of his quarry never quite jive with experience, plus he just leaves the bodies lying there. Obviously, the man is none too keen on this film crew following him around, so the trio has to tail him from afar. On one such night excursion deep into the woods, they hear some yelling and roaring, when suddenly Hans comes bursting out, screams the word, "TROLL!" and all Hell breaks loose. Thomas is bitten by some huge creature, and the kids' truck has been torn apart. After questioning Hans on his word choice, he decides to let them film him. Turns out he's actually a troll hunter, contracted by a secret sector of the government. It's his job to slay any trolls that break out of their territory and keep the species a secret. Before he takes the kids out, he makes sure that none of them are Christian, as trolls can smell the blood of a Christian man, and has them mask themselves with troll scent. After taping Hans kill a particularly nasty three-headed troll, the documentary takes shape. Hans educates the viewers on the types and mannerisms of trolls, the MO of the TSS (Troll Security Service), and ponders the mystery of the recent mass migration of trolls from their territories.

When I popped Troll Hunter in, I was expecting a fast-paced monster movie in the vein of Sharktopus . One of those movies that's absolutely ridiculous, but realizes it and has a lot of fun with it. Instead I got the exact opposite. Sure, the troll scenes are well-done, but they're much more down the path of tension and fear than the fast-paced romp I was expected; the few troll scenes there are, mind you. Truth-be-told, there's a grand total of four. The majority of the movie is focused on Hans' current investigation, and more specifically, the politics behind the troll hunting. Perhaps surprisingly, this slow, subtle approached works very well. Hans' lessons and investigation move along at a very nice pace, and various revelations are made at all the right times. And don't get it twisted; even though the troll scenes are not actually the focal point, those are awesome scenes. Despite my low opinion of cinema verite, Troll Hunter still portrays the franticness the technique is meant to, but is still clear enough that you can make out the action. And then there's that third encounter. Wow, is this a well shot scene; the tension is absolutely through the roof.

While the three kids (Glenn Erland Tosterud, Tomas Alf Larsen, and Johanna Mřrck) certainly didn't slouch (Larsen in particular was especially good in the troll scenes), Otto Jespersen stole the show as Hans. He plays that jaded, tired veteran archetype to perfection, explaining the physiology of trolls a la a professor lecturing class and switching off with a dry wit in the more casual conversations. We all know that particular old timer: he knows what he's doing, what he's talking about, but he's sick and tired of it. In this case, exacerbated even more by life on the road and the physical demands in battling twenty foot tall creatures.

It took me a second viewing to really appreciate Troll Hunter, but that second viewing was more than worth it. For those of you disappointed that it's not a troll-a-minute bloodbath, it should come as no surprise that the American remake has already been announced, and I'm sure Hollywood will kick out that version for you. Pity, as it all but ensures the original won't get the international attention it deserves. 8/10.
Chad #1: Chad - added November 2, 2011 at 1:30pm
Freaking loved this movie, huge thumbs up.
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