Saturday, 10 September 2011

Review - Troll Hunter (2010 - Dir. André Øvredal)

"PRETTY DAMN SPECTACULAR" exclaims the poster. Reading that, you know it's a bit of an exaggeration. That's only natural for marketing purposes. So, let's tone it down to make it slightly more accurate: "tedious". That's better.

It's not very often that I want to walk out of a film, but I was so bored by this that is was a real test of willpower to stay to watch the end. I was rewarded by some great images in the final scenes that reminded me why I'd gone to see it in the first place. The sight of a little fellow facing off against a huge two hundred foot tall troll will stick in my mind and hints at what could have been a far better film.

Troll Hunter belongs to the family of found footage films such as The Blair Witch Project. Three students are investigating a local poacher, who they suspect is not just hunting bears. They track him down and eventually end up documenting his exploits, which unsurprisingly involve trolls. There is gentle humour running throughout, and by 'gentle' I mean that the corners of my mouth moved up marginally on a few occasions. The laughter highlight is seeing three goats standing on a bridge as bait for a troll that lurks beneath. Hilarious.

The trolls are definitely the stars due to the severe blandness of the human characters, including the titular troll hunter. They are obviously CGI creations but the fresh creature designs are a sight for sore eyes. Along with shots of winding roads, shot handheld though the car window, they lend the film a modicum of atmosphere similar to the excellent PS2 game Shadow of the Colossus. Diverse in shape, size and sometimes in the number of heads, they are the only reason to stick with the film.

It's hard to put my finger on why it was so dull. Things do happen: trolls explode, turn to stone and generally stomp around. But there's no tension or excitement. Maybe again this is due to not caring about the characters. One of the students gets rabies and you just want him to die quickly so that you can get back to looking at trolls. Also, in the middle there is a mention of mountain trolls fighting forest trolls. Don't get your hopes up, because it never happens.

Really disappointing then. I wouldn't even recommend seeing it on DVD unless it was in a half price sale in Poundland. And you'd already watched the 10 Sci-Fi Movies pack that you bought from there the week before.

If you like this you could also try:
The Blair Witch Project, The Dark Crystal, The Silent House, Rec.

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