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Trollhunter is a Norwegian movie currently doing the rounds at the sort of cinemas that show sub-titled movies (you know the one, the one you keep meaning to go to more often). The premise is pretty simple; Modern Day Norway has trolls, and has been keeping this a secret from the world. The movie follows a small band of student film-makers who, over the course of the movie, become embroiled in a world much larger, and much scarier than they ever dared to dream.

Trollhunter is, in essence, a classic creature feature. Like all creature features, the focus in on the characters that have their lives affected by the monster’s existence. In this case, that role is filled by Hans, the titular Troll Hunter, brilliantly played by Norwegian satirist Otto Jespergian.

(c) Film Fund FUZZ

Yes, the Troll Hunter does look a bit like Warren Ellis. Perhaps there's something he's not telling us.

The movie not only explores the implications of giant monster roaming the wild parts of Norway, it also takes it time to have a satirical stab at religion, government and education, but in a subtle way. The main focus is the action, and the entire is shot in a mockumentary shaky-cam style1. This helps us sympathise with the characters a bit more, and lets the viewer buy into the whole idea that Trolls are real and have to be managed in the same way that other wild animals are.

Though darkly comic at times, I do suspect that some of the movie is lost in translation. This is very much a movie that only could have been made in Norway. It’s also great. Engaging, funny and exciting. You should go see it. Even if you don’t like subtitles.

Of course, being a good movie that happens to need subtitles, Hollywood plans a needless remake. (Article here.) I have a problem with this sort of remake anyway2, but in this particularly case, they really are missing the point. This is a movie steeped in Norway, and works so well because it’s a Norwegian movie with local talent, local scenery and local monsters. Introducing an American into the mix would detract from entire affair.

If you haven’t seen it, and you like creature features, go see it. It’s miles better than Cloverfield was, and much more fun.

1: As is traditional for such movies, the movie is allegedly ‘Found Footage’. The Blair Witch Project has a lot to answer for.
2: Partially, I resent the implication that most people won’t read subtitles, and I also hate the fact that Hollywood hoovers up foreign films and remakes them in order to protect it’s market share.

Categories: Movies
  1. September 23, 2011 at 1:10 pm

    I totally agree about the American remake. Will it be set in America? Will it be in Norway with Americans? Who knows? Who cares? The same questions can be asked of the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo remake (though the trailer does actually look quite good I’m ashamed to say). It does look like it is set in Sweden, but will Daniel Craig have a Swedish accent?

    Great post; I thoroughly enjoyed Troll Hunter.

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