Let‘s get this out of the way: Oh my god this movie kicks so much gigantic ass.
Ah, I feel better!
Seriously. I know the “found footage” thing has been done to death since BLAIR WITCH redefined low-budget movie-making. Done. To. Death. REC, PARANORMAL ACTIVTY, CLOVERFIELD, APOLLO 18, and on and on and on.
The makers of TROLL HUNTER didn’t try to reinvent the wheel. They found a way to write “kids with a camera” into the milieu, then send those kids in to the mountains of Norway to track down a bear poacher. Like BLAIR WITCH, everything you see is through the camera carried by one of the characters.
Unlike most found-footage flicks, however, this is a monster movie. The first time I saw said monster, it took my breath away. Because of the special effects? No, the FX are solid but not spectacular. The reason the first reveal riveted me was because of the long, slow setup, a setup in which we come to share the main characters’ skepticism. There’s nothing unusual about the formula of this movie; what’s impressive is the way they deliver that formula. Little scenes with the college kids help lull you into believing these are real people. Despite the subtitles, you feel like you’re on the excursion with the characters, you really get to know these people and feel for them as the challenges mount.
Honestly, despite the fact that CLOVERFIELD’s budget was probably 10,000 times as big as TROLL HUNTER’s, this Norwegian film clearly comes out on top. It’s full of tension, excitement and comic relief.
The scientific explanation for the paranormal occurrence is laughable, but hey, at least they tried. Unlike most bullshit ghost/vampire/werewolf/supernatural flicks, TROLL HUNTER sets up a rules system. The movie obeys that system and doesn’t give you any deus ex machina easy outs. Their “what-if” spin on the rampaging monster scenario is pretty clever, and works well within their rule set.
I wasn’t that impressed with the ending. It’s chock-full of stressful, white-knuckle moments, but the plot breaks down a bit, the only nock on an otherwise stellar horror film.
In short, I was totally fucking impressed. I wish I’d made this movie. If you haven’t seen it, rent it. Right away.