[Review] Trolljegeren (Troll Hunter)

A glimpse of Norway's beautiful scenery.

For some time now I’ve had this romantic idea of moving to Norway or Sweden. I’ve even told my boyfriend that when we get married I would like to honeymoon in Sweden, one week in Stockholm and one week in the mountains where we can learn to ski by day and unwind in the jacuzzi with a glass of champagne by night. However, after seeing this film I may have to rethink those plans…

Released in its native Norway in late 2010, Troll Hunter slowly trickled across cinema screens in the rest of the world in 2011. In August 2011, director André Øvredal and star Glenn Erland Tosterud introduced a sneak peek at Empire Presents… BIG SCREEN. Though I was at BIG SCREEN, I was unable to attend the screening as we had already booked tickets to see something else. To be honest, I really didn’t know anything about Troll Hunter until we arrived at BIG SCREEN. After being greeted with a kitted out Land Rover and a Troll Hunter Survival Guide it was difficult not to be interested, though.

THE TRUTH IS OUT

Troll Hunter follows a group of students as they investigate a series of mysterious bear killings in Norway. They start to follow a mysterious hunter, who is revealed to be a troll hunter. The latest film in the found-film documentary style, I really can’t imagine it being filmed any other way.

Blessed with a well written and witty script, what appealed to me the most was how matter-of-fact and, to be quite honest, realistic it was. Hans isn’t your stereotypical Hollywood hero nor is he your Indiana Jones style adventurer: he really looks like he could take on a troll. In part that is down to the fantastic costume and effects teams who nailed his attire and troll-weary Land Rover.

Trolls are embedded in Scandinavian culture and they too aren’t glamourised for added thrills or excitement. They were exactly what I imagined them to look like, including the three heads. They aren’t your Harry Potter or The Lord of the Rings style beasties, they are creatures from old Scandinavian stories and appear on screen as a Norwegian director – who presumably grew up hearing these stories – wants them to.

The trolljegeren himself with his trusty Land Rover.

TRRRRROOOOOOOOOOLL!

While I did enjoy Troll Hunter greatly, there is one other person who enjoyed it a lot more, my dad. After I got back from BIG SCREEN I told him about it, and for months after he was asking me whether it had been released on DVD yet. When I found out it would be arriving in the UK in January 2012, I pre-ordered it for him. When it finally arrived and he watched it, he left me a voicemail message saying something along the lines of: “TRRROOLLL! Absolutely brilliant. Call me back.” He’s now on the hunt for some UV lights and spikes to make his own Land Rover Defender a bit more battle-hardened like Hans’…

★★★★

Top image from Alexandre Dulaunoy‘s Flickr photostream.

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32 thoughts on “[Review] Trolljegeren (Troll Hunter)”

  1. That top pic is impressive. It is fitting since Troll Hunter definitely features some striking locations. I enjoyed it too. It was definitely a fun film that also had some meat on the bones too. How long until the American remake I wonder?

    1. It’s gorgeous, isn’t it? Europe, and indeed the world, is certainly blessed with some impressive landscapes.

      I’ll check out the American remake but I am a bit anxious about it. Maybe they’ll adapt it and change the trolls to some American beasts, killer coyotes or something!

  2. Yay! I’m so glad you loved this too and that it worked for you even if you’re not grown up in Scandinavia and familiar with the concept of trolls.

    Stockholm is pretty with all the water and the archipelago, but to be completely honest – if your budget and time is limited and you only can pick one spot in Scandinavia to go to, I’d rather pick Norway. The mountains and the fiords are just specacular, breathtaking in a way that Sweden isn’t.

    Don’t forget to give me a shout if you’ll ever go here and we can have a film bloggers meetup!

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Jessica.

      When I was younger we travelled around Scandinavia a few times in our old Rascal van (as Dad explains below) and I really can’t wait to go back. It’ll be a very different experience going back 15 years on but I’m in my mid-twenties but the scenery itself will be just as beautiful I’m sure.

      You’ll be the first to know if I do get out there!

  3. Awesome! It was all the tiny, unnecessary, bureaucratic, details that really made this for me. And as you say, the Trolls look awesome and realistic.

    And as for the scenery, despite being wet, windy and snowy, it’s absolutely jaw-dropping. Definitely one of the best from last year.

    1. I loved all those little details as well, especially the reference to the ‘Three Billy Goats Gruff’. For me, one of the film’s key strengths is how ordinary and matter-of-fact everything is. For all we know trolls could really be hiding in Norway’s forests!

      1. I loved the little clean up / cover up team. And how about power lines… won’t ever look at them in the same way again. Really need to buy this and watch loads more.

  4. I loved this film despite having any background knowledge about trolls. Probably my favorite found footage flick. When they follow that trollhunter for the first night and he comes running to them and screams zTRRROOOOOOOOL I almost fell off my chair laughing, not sure if that’s the expected reaction though. I was literally jumping everytime we see trolls on screen. Great fun watch.

    1. Thanks for stopping by, SDG.

      It is definitely my favourite found footage film at the moment as well. It’s perfectly suited to the style.

      I burst out laughing later on when they were stuck in that cave when the trolls came in and, erm, made themselves at home..!

  5. Trooolllll! My Defender now has its own “turned to stone” troll on the dashboard and I am looking for a false beard and green waterproofs to match the Trolljegeren (but without the troll stink). Best film I have seen recently and the atmosphere and scenery of Norway are captured perfectly – many years ago we toured the Hardangervidda in a little Rascal van (with baby Claire in the back with her brother) and I always wondered why there were so many lines of electricity pylons apparently going round in circles….

    1. Thanks for your comment, Dad!

      I’d love to go for a drink with Hans and hear his stories, I’m sure he’s had more than his fair share of near-death experiences!

      And you’re right about leaving out the troll stink… I’m not sure Mum would appreciate it 😛

  6. I agree with Jessica. Stockholm is very pretty, but the Fjords in Norway are really stunning. Troll Hunter was tremendous fun, one of my favourites from last year. You’re right, I think documentary style was the only way to go for this, and it also really helped that it didn’t take itself too seriously.

    Your Dad sounds ace btw!

    1. Thank you, Russ. I’m just glad he enjoyed it as I bought it for him without seeing it first myself!

      Troll Hunter is certainly great fun, and one that I will rewatch time and time again.

  7. I’ve heard mixed reviews on this, but I somewhat wanted to check it out. Of course there were rumors of an American remake, so I would want to watch the original first. Funny how much your father loved it.

  8. Ahahaha, your first paragraph cracks me up, Claire. Surely there won’t be Troll around in Sweden anymore… or… is it?? 😀 😀

    Anyway, that’s cool that your dad loves this movie. This movie isn’t really on my radar but I’ve been seeing lots of positive reviews on it.

  9. I need to see some Norweigian movies. Scandinavian cinema is awesome, I have this film to see on my watchlist.

    I’d also like to visit Scandinavia, particularly Sweden, since I am part Swedish on my mother’s side.

    1. Everything Scandinavian seems to be very hot at the moment, especially films and TV series.

      I hope you make it to Sweden, it’d be very interesting to trace your family’s history and see where they lived 🙂

  10. Not sure if the movie intended it to be this way, but I found it very amusing. I really cracked up at the ending, where there was real footage of a minister supposedly “admitting” the existence of trolls. Bring on the conspiracy theories any day! And yes, Norway is beyond breathtaking.

  11. ha. I’m glad you enjoyed this film. I remember seeing the trailer and be interested in checking it out for the sheer fact that it looked fun. Love that your dad was looking forward to it as well!

    Someday, I’ll find my way to Sweden as well! ha.

  12. Been hearing great things about this movie. The trailer didn’t really floor me at the time but I will give it a shot! Nice review Claire, I can definitely feel your enthusiasm for the movie through it 😀

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