Trollhunter (Trolljegeren) is a 2010 Norwegian creature feature from Filmkameratene directed by André Øvredal. It is presented as a found footage documentary, sort of The Blair witch Project meets Crocodile Hunter.
In it trolls are treated as real, apex predators living at the outskirts of civilization. Much of the information about them is culled from folklore such as light of the sun turning them to stone1 and being able to smell the blood of Christians2. What this movie lacks in jump scares, it makes up with the tension of being hunted by massive creatures that used to easily wipe out human settlements single-handedly.
It begins with three students from Volda University following up on reports of bear sightings and trying to get an interview with a man named Hans who is suspected of poaching. Because what else are teenagers, with easy access to video equipment and no supervision, going to do with their time?
The first sign something odd is going on is when a group of government licensed bear hunters come across a downed animal. Although it matches the description from reports, the hunters claim the corpse appears to have been purposefully dropped there in an amateurish attempt to stage a crime scene. The students catch up Hans at a trailer park and try to get him to talk, but he brushes them off. He also exhibits strange behavior such as decking out his ill-smelling camper in bright lights and bundles of thyme while always staying out all night.
The students begin stalking Hans, with more failed attempts to get him to talk, eventually following him past a closed gate into a forest. They get turned around in the dark and begin picking up odd sounds in the distance with their microphones. Soon Hans runs up to them, terrified, and shouts “TROLL!” All four scramble through the woods chased by a thirty-foot, three-headed, humanoid monster. After being separated, they regroup near Hans’ Land Rover where he awaits the troll. Once it emerges, Hans attacks with a large tube weapon that flashes blasts of UV light, turning the monster to stone.
While the troll stone is broken down, a government official named Finn shows up with some Polish men to stage another bear shooting. It turns out trolls are not merely creatures of myth and a very small agency is in charge of overseeing them while covering up their existence. The students are filled with questions and, after some initial hesitation, Hans agrees to let them follow him around.
From here the movie shifts to focus on the character of Hans. As the only troll hunter in Norway (although wrangler would be a more accurate term), he lives a solitary life, constantly on the move. "It is dirty work", he calls it, full of danger and bureaucracy. He is sick of being underpaid, overworked, and taken advantage of by a government that cares little for the wildlife beyond keeping them away from humans.
But something is wrong with the trolls. For some reason they are to ranging further out of their habitat than normal, and it is up to Hans to resolve the situation.
Otto Jespersen - Hans
Hans Morten Hansen – Finn (head of Troll Security Service)
Glenn Erland Tosterud – Thomas (interviewer)
Tomas Alf Larsen – Kalle (cameraman)
Johanna Mørck – Johanna (microphone operator)
Knut Nærum - power company manager
Torunn Lødemel Stokkeland – Hilde (Veterinarian)
Urmila Berg-Domaas – Malica (camerawoman)
1: a bit of pseudoscience is used try and explain this phenomenon.
2: their Christian cameraman being replaced by a Muslim camerawoman leads to one of the funnier dialogue exchanges in the film.
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