It may sound like a ludicrous, cheaply made, Scandinavian thriller, but Troll Hunter is actually a ludicrous, cheaply made, Scandinavian… Hang on. Yes, Troll Hunter is in fact pretty much what your first impressions would expect, but rather than a thriller, it is a gloriously dark comedy.
Its conflicting genres confused the audience, unsure whether we should be laughing at the Troll Hunter’s annoyance at his lack of pension or the government’s poor attempts to cover the trolls’ tracks of destruction with imported (dead) Russian bears. But the film encourages you to look at the fact that the Troll Hunter’s job is ridiculous, while also reminding you that he is a metaphor representing underpaid and unappreciated public sector workers (how well he’d fit into Britain at the moment!).
The genius of the film is how it plays on preconceptions and fairy tales. The trolls, although ten times larger and more terrifying than those in childrens’ books, fit perfectly into the myths that shroud them: from turning into stone when they’re exposed to sunlight, to smelling the blood of a Christian man. In fact, there’s even one that lives under a bridge. The assumption of the filmmakers that the audience would understand these references to childhood stories is a pure example of how they’ve blended humour with darkness, and I think why I left the cinema feeling warm towards the film, despite it involving death, violence and explosions (not normally on my checklist when I decide what film I’m going to see!).
Filmed in POV style, mainly set in Norwegian woodland, and starring big old monsters, Troll Hunter is like the fun cousin of the Blair Witch Project and Cloverfield – still providing some jumps but without the lingering tension of its handycam predecessors, which for someone like me who can’t stand horror films, is the perfect level of thrill! The script is funny, sarcastic and political in the right measures, and although the CGI isn’t the most technically brilliant I’ve ever seen, the stunning Norwegian scenery makes up for it. Visually mesmerising, scriptually unique and a clever twist on childhood stories, Troll Hunter is brilliant fun and despite not having much public cinematic attention, will definitely become a cult classic post-release.