Now this is a strange one.
Trollhunter is the Norweigan not quite horror comedy. Done in found footage style the film follows a group of students who think they’re making a documentary about poaching, until they discover that their would be poacher is actually a government agent whose job it is to hunt and exterminate Norway’s troublesome troll population.
These trolls are giant ill tempered beasts who rampage through the countryside, searching for the blood of Christians (which in one of the film’s funniest moments rather abruptly necessitates the hiring of a Muslim Camerawoman). Hans, our mysterious hunter, is on a more less single handed mission to put them down (see it pays to specialize) in a very of matter of fact fashion.
The film straddles a lot of different lines, it’s a horror comedy but it’s not done as over the top as the premise might lead you to believe. Everyone plays things more or less straight. Hans, the troll hunter, is a blue collar guy, who treats Troll’s with the same amount of exoticism as a plumber treats a clogged toilet, when he dons his absurd Troll protection armor or his blasts away with his giant UV cannon its just another tool, like watching someone put on a hard had. He uses the opportunity of having a camera trained on him to bitch about the troll hunter bureaucracy and his lack of benefits and overtime pay.
The matter of factness and restraint make things funnier but it’s a double edged sword. Those expecting a fast, crazy horror film in the Raimi/Jackson vein should prepare themselves. The first half hour is a slow burn, and not in a good way either. The film takes a lot of time to set up things that don’t particularly feel like they need setting up. It’s the type of movie where it feels like a given thirty minute stretch could be reduced to five without particularly missing anything.
Yet once again this kind of attention to detail occasionally pays dividends. The TSS (Troll Security Service) keeps disguising the troll attacks and bear attacks. Where do they get the dead bears? At one point a van advertising a Polish Redecorating service drives up and drops off a bear corpse for the TSS. The driver speaking in broken enthusiastic Norweigen is happy about the whole thing, apparently he gets an order from these guys a couple times a month. When the kids quiz him about whether or not he’s curious what these people want all these bear corpses for, he smiles and shakes his head, “Why ask question when you just know it be problem?”
On the whole Trollhunter is such an unexpected movie that I can’t help but kind of like and recommend it. With the major caveat that it is probably best that you make sure you’re in the right mood for it before you watch it. If you’re expecting a fast gory piece of splatterpunk you’ll be disappointed. But if you’re receptive to the art of the Shaggy dog story you just might have a good time.