Troll Hunter has to be one of the most unique films of last year. For some odd reason, when I tell people I recently watched Troll Hunter, Iím always asked, ďOh, whatís it about?Ē A very fair question, but the movie is what the title says. It is about a troll hunter. The movie was released on October 29th of 2010, and got an American release on June 10th of 2011. The movie opened to mostly positive reviews.
The Norwegian film was filmed in Western Norway where it takes place in the movie. The movie was directed by Andrť ōvredal featuring mostly lesser known actors. The film team chose to go keep the movie under the radar and attempted the viral marketing strategy. The Nordic location provided for some stunning scenery in the movie. Troll Hunter is a mockumentary employing the handheld first person camera work. So think Blair Witch Project or Quarantinein Norway and with giant trolls. The lighting in the film is exceptional, especially in the low light scenes. Using the moon as the motivator, the lighting and photography crew does a wonderful job creating accurate shadows and deep contrast. Another cinematic element they did a great job with was incorporating was the rain, mist, and the fog that rolls against the hills. The crew lit the mist extremely well to make the mist pop and have great depth (not an easy task!), allowing the audience to feel the setting more vividly. The movie also did a great job with little touches to give it a more authentic feel and to make it seem like the footage was actually found and raw. One example is when the hunter and the in movie film crew (remember, this is a mockumentary) are grabbing breakfast and we see the in movie film crew white balancing. This might go unnoticed to most, but to someone who has film experience it is a great touch. The next example would seem obvious, but other first person films often missed with this one. There is a moment in the film where the camera operator is picked up by a troll and drops the camera. Letís arbitrarily say the camera fell 8 feet. We then see the lens is cracked. Out of all the first person films Iíve seen, this might be the first with a destructible lens. The exact opposite happened in Quarantine when the camera man viciously defends himself against a zombie with blunt camera blows. Destructible lenses are not always a given.
I wonít go too much into the story of the movie as to not ruin it. As mentioned above, the movie is about a troll hunter, and thatís the only introduction the movie needs. It might be the only introduction anyone can give. A couple of interesting discussions the movie brings up are the discussions on religion and animal rights. We can see that religion might be a big topic just from the trailer where Christianity and Islam are both raised. As an American, it is fascinating to see a Scandinavian slant on religion. The trolls are attracted to the scent of Christian blood, so before the troll hunter allows the film crew to shadow him, he probes the crew on their religious beliefs. The members all deny any affiliation with Jesus Christ. We find out later that one of the members of the film team is actually a closet Christian. It makes sense that he would hide the fact that he is Christian in a country where, in 2005, only 32% of the population believed in a god. This was extremely interesting as atheists are often bullied in America and seeing the roles reversed was quite refreshing. Animals rights, or perhaps better phrased as creature rights in this film are also observed. We see the team sympathize for sheep when they are used as bait to lure the trolls. We also see in one of the interviews with the hunter that he might also have sympathy for the trolls.
I recommend this film to everyone because of how unique and well made it is. I fully understand that Americans tend to be turned off by subtitles, but itís time we mature and venture into a wider variety of cinema. Especially when there is a movie of this grade is waiting to be viewed.