Trollhunter | Film Reviews | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly

Trollhunter 

Legitimately suspenseful or goofy lark?

Pin It
Favorite
Trollhunter
  • Trollhunter

The “found footage/faux documentary” subgenre has been around long enough now that we should understand how and why it works. But Trollhunter is evidence that perhaps we don’t.

Norwegian writer/director André Ovredal comes up with a solid-enough premise: A trio of Volda college film students (Glenn Erland Tosterud, Johanna Morck and Tomas Alf Larsen) are initially putting together a documentary about a guy they think is a bear poacher. But as they follow the man, Hans (Otto Jespersen), they discover that he has targets besides bears in his sights. He’s a troll hunter, an operative assigned by a covert Norwegian government agency to deal with actual trolls when they stray from their remote habitat into populated areas.

One of the principal benefits of the “found footage” gimmick is that it creates a fundamental unease in viewers who might guess in a conventional film when the big scare is going to come.

But Trollhunter never seems particularly concerned with being scary; it feels as though 90 percent of the film is devoted to the student filmmakers interviewing Hans about the minutiae of troll behavior and hunting protocol. Ovredal does a nice job of establishing his troll mythology—including a scientific basis for why sunlight turns them to stone—and Jespersen turns in a nicely world-weary performance, but the details aren’t nearly fascinating enough to make up for the lack of serious troll-dodging.

Nor does it seem that Ovredal is entirely clear whether he wants Trollhunter to be legitimately suspenseful or merely a goofy lark. The look of the creatures is more Muppet-like than frightening; there’s a weird aside involving a Polish immigrant helping frame a bear for the trolls’ livestock killings, and when there is a fatality, the response of the other characters doesn’t feel remotely like what real people would do. If there’s one thing you really need from “found footage,” it’s the sense that it could actually be real.

TROLLHUNTER

2_stars.gif

Otto Jespersen, Glenn Erland Tosterud, Johanna Morck
PG-13

Pin It
Favorite

More by Scott Renshaw

Latest in Film Reviews

  • Houses Divided

    Two new films highlight a politically fractured America.
    • Oct 17, 2018
  • Giant Leap

    Neil Armstrong's private world drives the biopic First Man.
    • Oct 10, 2018
  • Everything Old Is New Again

    A fresh take on A Star Is Born both elevates and hinders it.
    • Oct 3, 2018
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Readers also liked…

  • Kid Stuff

    A lovely child performance anchors the satisfying family drama of Gifted.
    • Apr 12, 2017
  • If You're Going to San Francisco

    Fifty years on, Monterey Pop captures something that was more than a musical moment.
    • Jun 14, 2017

© 2018 Salt Lake City Weekly

Website powered by Foundation