I’ve seen four Scandinavian fantasy films: Terror in the Midnight Sun (Sweden, 1959), Reptilicus (Denmark, 1961), Dead Snow (Norway, 2009) and TrollHunter (Norway, 2010). Terror in the Midnight Sun and Reptilicus are pretty bad, but I have a special appreciation for the films of Ib Melchior, and have always considered Reptilicus to be a guilty pleasure. The two Norwegian films effectively blend horror and comedy, which is no easy task. TrollHunter is probably the most entertaining of the lot. I watched it tonight and loved every Scandinavian minute of the film. It’s weird, funny, off-beat and wickedly satirical.
In October 2008 “Filmkameratene AS” received two discs with 283 minutes of footage by students from Volda College, and this rough-cut film was assembled. It’s not a hoax. Authorities have deemed it to be authentic. This is the story of Troll Hunter Hans, who works for the TSS (that’s Troll Security Service), thinning out and managing rogue trolls roaming about the Norwegian landscape. He terminates the Trolls with directed UV lamps. They either turn into a calcified mass (when they are 1,000 to 1200 year old Trolls) or blowup real good. There are two main groups of Trolls: woodland and mountain. They are broken into subgroups of Tosserlads, Ringlefinches (“They piss everywhere”), and Rimetossers. There’s also Mountain Kings, The Hardings (what?) out west, and the Jotnars. The Jotnars get really big. King Kong big. Trolls eat about everything, but Hans uses a special blend of concrete and charcoal to trap them. Some eat sheep and other livestock. Oh, and Trolls don’t like Christians. They can smell Christians. Hans isn’t sure if they like Muslims, so later in the film a Muslim camera-operator joins the crew thinking she is filming musk-oxen.
When the students finally succeed in documenting Hans’ story he confides that he has a shitty job, with no after-hours compensation or night pay. He’s says he’s not a hero and it’s a dirty job. He fills out these crappy “Rapportskjema for Nedlagte Troll” (Slayed Troll Form) for the TSS. They are TSS Forms as opposed to TPS forms (Office Space).
TrollHunter is fairly unique -some will inevitably draw some comparison to The Blair Witch Project, but “Troll” has a keen sense of humor. I love how Hans notes that farmers and environmentalists bitch about the high tension towers, but he thinks they are pretty. Kudos to director André Øvredal. This film is very well-written, witty and well acted. And the digital effects are used to support the film. The Trolls deliver too. When was the last time you watched a film with giant rabid Trolls?