Trollhunter (2010)

*. The Internet has played havoc with orthography, most notably with its habit for jamming words into compounds. A result, originally, of web addresses being “all one word.” This has led to knock-on effects in other media. So, for example, is the title of this movie Trollhunter, TrollHunter, Troll Hunter, or The Troll Hunter? I believe it was released in English-language markets under all four.
*. That’s an aside. As for the movie itself, it’s a basic shaky-cam horror/mockumentary that has a trio of Norwegian students following Hans (the Troll Hunter) around as he does his thing. Along the way Hans lets us in on lots of troll mythology, or natural science since trolls are real.
*. On the continuum from horror to comedy the needle here is pointing to the funny side. It’s hard to take the trolls that seriously, what with their giant noses and general sense of being shaggy toys that have wandered off the set of Sesame Street. There’s nothing really scary about them either. Even when trapped in a troll cave the greatest risk the crew run is being farted to death. Apparently trolls really stink even at the best of times.
*. In the one scene where someone is killed it hardly even registers. What was the cameraman’s name? In any event, he’s soon replaced, like one of the drummers for Spinal Tap. If anything I felt a bit sorry for the trolls by the end. Do you want to be on the side of a guy who hunts an endangered species for a living, as part of a super-secretive government agency (the TSS, or Troll Security Service)?
*. I’m not just being facetious here. As I say, this is mostly meant as a mockumentary and the bottom line is that it just isn’t funny enough. Maybe something was being lost in translation, but I didn’t think any of the jokes were working. The trolls farting in the cave? Not really. And why did Hans rig his vehicle out as a Deathmobile when the armour and spikes never have any role to play?
*. So without any scares and very few laughs I spent most of my time just gazing at the beautiful scenery. Which is also what I did while watching The Wave. As I said in my notes on that film, I really should visit Norway some day.
*. Still, I guess it’s a decent little movie. There was talk of a Hollywood remake but I don’t think there was enough here for them to bother. Writer-director André Øvredal would go on to do The Autopsy of Jane Doe, which was also pretty good but not a breakout. It feels like there’s something there though.

5 thoughts on “Trollhunter (2010)

  1. tensecondsfromnow

    The Troll Hunter? Robert De Niro and Meryl Streep? Oh, no, that’s The Deer Hunter. Always thought this was overrated too, probably for the best that a Hollywood remake never happened…

  2. Tom Moody

    I enjoyed this movie, while recognizing that its mythology (trolls with big noses) probably resonated more in Norway. Like the TV show Lilyhammer, there’s also satire of Norwegian state bureaucracy. I especially like the scene of the troll hunter filling out his paperwork, checking the box for what type of troll he had just killed.
    The death of the cameraman and the team’s decision to keep pressing on, as if there wouldn’t be an investigation, funeral, etc, bugged me. As you say, it was like the Spinal Tap drummer (not in a good way).

    1. Alex Good Post author

      Yes, the curious way that troll hunting is a sort of “dark state” function of the government was well observed. And I liked how it led into the quick passage they stuck at the end with the Norwegian prime minister. Given the nature of the movie (found footage) they probably couldn’t do anything more with this than they did.


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