Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Challenge Excepted: Norway

First of the Scandinavian films, its Troll Hunter from Norway.

When this film first came out, it was made a big deal of. It got good reviews at home and abroad and as the poster says was 'pretty damn spectacular'. 

Set up like how 'The Blair Witch Project' was, found tapes, no one knows where the filmmakers are, ends on a cliffhanger type of film. At first it follows three University students making a basic documentary, following a suspected bear poacher through Western Norway. They follow him to various camp sites and wait for him to emerge. These places are also spots where illegally slain bears have been found, but hunters and locals are confused because the tracks don't look like bear tracks, it looks like the bears have just been dumped.

The filmmakers finally catch up with this suspected poacher and successfully follow him one night. They follow him into the woods and hear strange sounds and noises. Then suddenly he comes running out of the trees shouting 'TROOOOLLLL!!'. This is first moment when we and the filmmakers realise that this is not your average hunter and prey.

The film continues in this way. The Filmmakers join the Troll Hunter on various missions and along the way we find out about the secret organisation TSS (Troll Security Service) and how they have been keeping an eye on trolls and their movements.

Everything that is laid out in the film feels plausible and matter of fact. I particularly enjoyed the short scene where the Polish company who are responsible for dumping the bears in areas where animals have been eaten, bring the wrong species of bear. They bring a Russian one instead of a Scandinavian one and claim no on will know the difference. One scene later, a news reporter points out this error and confusion.

The story is slow and doesn't go over the top with troll sightings or action scenes. The characters are interesting, especially the Troll Hunter, Hans, himself.  Well known Norwegian comedian, Otto Jespersen plays the title role and although his expression hardly changes, he is still so fascinating to watch and listen to.

The fact that the 'mockumentary' and 'found footage' genre is usually used in horror films, it was so refreshing to see something new and exciting on screen. Yes I did get freaked out a few times but who wouldn't when a giant troll is on screen. I saw this as more of a thriller than anything as I was on the edge of my seat.

Last element of the film I'll mention is the special effects, the trolls were amazing. All the trolls had their obvious own looks and were down in such detail. Another major part of the film were references to folklore and common descriptions such as trolls have tails, can have multiple heads, they eat rocks but love meat, they can smell a Christian man's blood and that they turn to stone upon contact with sunlight. The latter is used frequently in the film as the Troll Hunter uses UV lights to kill the trolls. 

A fantastic film and I urge you to watch it. An exciting thrilling, interesting film that didn't come Hollywood, broaden your minds people.

End Line: A rare stroke of mockumentary genius.

Next: Scotland

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