With its outlandish premise and great trailer, André Øvredal’s creature feature has guaranteed cult crossover status.
Combining plenty you’ve seen before (found footage, CG beasties) to create something new (a blackly comic Norwegian fantasy), it plows an odd little furrow, and will bemuse as much as beguile casual viewers.
Investigating a series of bear deaths, film student Thomas (Glenn Erland Tosterud) and his crew begin to follow mysterious hunter Hans (Otto Jespersen). But soon he’s inducting them into a clandestine world of towering creatures more familiar from fairytales than fjordlands. Some might say Hans – and the film – give away their secrets too quickly.
The trolls (massive, penis-nosed Fraggles beautifully rendered in CGI) are revealed almost immediately, despite the fact that Hans is meant to be covering up their existence. Scandinavian critics have called this a satire on blundering Norwegian bureaucracy – we’ll have to take their word on that one.
But once your credulity has been stretched, what Øvredal and his SFX team have to show will quite simply blow you away. Following colossal CG monsters through mines, under bridges and across icy wildernesses, it’s like David Attenborough taking a stroll into Roald Dahl’s brain.
Flirting with horror and comedy before settling somewhere between the two, it’s an unusual, uneven film best summed up by Thomas and co’s reactions as they first encounter a troll.
It’s not terror, but the joy of the new – a feeling cult-film lovers know only too well.
A true one-off, with all the frustrated expectations that entails. Troll Hunter plays it strange and straight, introducing creatures so unforgettable they would make Harry Potter expelliarmus his bowels.