The Troll Hunter
'Found footage' mock doc ends up somewhere between horror and comedy
This monster movie was an unqualified box office hit in its native Norway, and has picked up dozens of rave reviews on the worldwide festival circuit, but aside from a couple of good jokes and a handful of impressive visual effects sequences, there’s nothing in André Ovredal’s film that hasn’t been done much better before.
It begins promisingly, with portentous opening text attesting to the veracity of this ‘found footage’, then a cut straight to handheld camera as three Norwegian media students document their pursuit of an illicit bear hunter. Their conversation is authentically mundane and the spectacular mountain scenery immediately atmospheric; it’s an aesthetic that’s been familiar since The Blair Witch Project so effectively rewrote the rulebook for modern horror. We seem to be on track for solid scares, but Ovredal abruptly gear-shifts to comedy once he reveals the trolls (fantastic CG creations that look like giant versions of Spike Jonze’s Wild Things). Not nearly scary enough to be a horror, but not consistently funny enough to be a comedy, The Troll Hunter ends up somewhere in the middle.