Today we come across another film which uses the “found footage” style to tell a story. Does the film stack up better than Cloverfield? Let’s find out.
A documentary film crew tries to investigate a mysterious man named Hans, who many believe to be a poacher. They soon discover he isn’t hunting bears but is instead a licenced hunter of Trolls for the government. Soon, Hans reveals his techniques for hunting and destroying Trolls. It involves a surprising amount of paperwork.
The film offers an interesting bit of world building. Large proportions of the movie are spent explaining the workings of the Trolls. Using a lot of the old legends of trolls, it depicts how Trolls smell the blood of Christians and why they turn into stone during the day. The film also grounds the Trolls in a sense of reality when having the characters get a blood sample test to see if the creatures have come down with an illness. A lot of research and thought went into this film and it shows.
The downside of the film comes from the characters. Yes, the titular Trollhunter Hans does get a lot of backstory and character explanation but the others don’t get as much information about them. They are dedicated to investigating the truth behind if Trolls exist or not but there really isn’t much else to their characters. Thomas is memorable because he’s the one who gets injured fairly early in the film and you spend the whole time wondering if the whole “Is something going to come from the injury” plot line is going to come into effect. The cameraman Kalle has a brief bit of character but only for a crucial moment. The female in the group Johanna really has no definitive character except for being the girl. This film would definitely fail the Bechdel test.
I’ve heard its supposed to be a comedy but I didn’t really pick up on this vibe. There are some moments which could be seen as comedic but there are enough grim scenes to make up for this. Maybe is was one of those times where you have to understand the culture to really get the jokes. I’ll admit I haven’t seen many Norwegian films. Still, it feels like there are too many light moments for it to be a horror movie and too much violence for it to really be a comedy.
As I did mention Cloverfield before I’ll take the time to compare the two films. Frankly, Cloverfield really was the better feature as it allowed us to connect with the characters and care about whether they were going to get out alive or not. This film doesn’t really have us connect with anyone except for Hans and frankly he’s presented as such a capable warrior despite fighting these intense creatures you never really worry if he’s going to make it out alive. The film is an interesting bit of world building but really could have stood to have us connect more with the cast, especially when there are so few in the main cast. Still, the film is worth watching for the giant monster fan who wants to see how other countries treat their Kaiju.
One thought on “Trollhunter”
I really liked the troll lore in the film, and it would have been cool if Thomas turned into a troll from his injury.
The breakfast scene was the funniest moment in the film. Hans played it totally straight as he talked about the trolls.
btw; I don’t think this is true: “… they turn into stone during the day.” They turn into stone if exposed to daylight, but once that happens, they are dead. That’s why the Mountain Kings sleep in caves.
I wrote a short essay on Trollhunter called “Intolerant Trolls.” If you would like to read it, feel free to post a comment: https://christopherjohnlindsay.wordpress.com/2015/05/03/troll-hunter/