If it weren’t for the films charming blend of tongue-in-cheek realism, magical mythology and a gripping sense of adventure, ‘Troll Hunter’ would just be a fun Scandinavian romp. Instead, it’s that and a whole lot more.
A team of student documentarians led by Glenn Erland Tosterud’s Thomas (imagine a Scandinavian Michael J. Fox, and you’re not far off) go off in search of an explanation for a sudden pile up of bear carcasses in the area. But, in the process, they stumble on something far more sinister . . . trolls, whose existence the government have been trying so desperately to keep under wraps.
The team then join up with Norway’s sole ‘troll hunter’ and head off into the hills to document the intricacies of his unique profession. It’s a perfect set up for some incredible action sequences, especially towards the finale, and they are made ever more impressive by the perfectly judged CGI work. The troll designs are suitably disgusting and they have real heft when they’re lumbering around the great Norwegian plateaus.
The cast also do a great job of holding everything together. There’s a whole lot of staring into the woods at invisible foes, and all the leads do a grand old job of reacting naturally. The found-footage concept – so often exploited – is also used surprisingly well and it remains grounded, without any noticeable flights of fancy.
Somehow, ‘Troll Hunter’ is a film that is openly aware of its lunacy all whilst remaining deadly serious. It’s also a delightfully easy watch that provides a number of enjoyable thrills and spills. Good job, Norway!