André Øvredal, Norway, 2010, 99 min.
What do you call this genre? “Found Footage” films? You know the ones: A pile of tapes or film reels are found and we get to see the rough footage leading up to them being lost.
Here are a few examples: Cannibal Holocaust, Blair Witch Project, [REC], Quarantine, Cloverfield, The Last Broadcast
Although a few of these are entertaining, none of them are great. Films of this style have trouble breaking out of the limitations and have to resort to the same tricks we’ve seen in all of them.
The Troll Hunter, although having unique subject matter, great scenery and neat special effects, is still not an exception to the rule. The footage was found on two hard drives and appears to be of some college students attempting to film an expose on illegal bear poaching.
They latch onto a suspected bear poacher and follow him deep into the countryside. It is soon revealed that he isn’t hunting bears. There are larger more dangerous creatures that lurk in the outskirts of Norway. For reasons never explained very well they are allowed to get some great footage of him and his cohorts doing their job. Enough footage to proove there is a large government conspiracy to hide the prescence of the trolls from the public.
The highlight of the film is the scenery and the gargantuan CGI trolls that they inserted into the landscape. The effects themselves look great and the cinematography matches the effects style making everything in the film feel less absurd than it actually is.
The lead characters of the student and the hunter are shallow but acceptable. The direction is solid, intelligently keeping the shakey-cam down to a minimum. The story is a bit preposterous, but it doesn’t take it self too seriously.
The film does feel a bit long and would probably benefit by removing a good 15 minutes of exposition. Because it gets its atmosphere from its look, not its script. Overall I would say this was one of the more entertaining films of this style, but it doesn’t offer anything new. Besides trolls.
A queston for film researchers: What is the first film ever made in this style? The earliest I can think of is Cannibal Holocaust.