Trolls exist, and they are big, angry and smell like trolls. In the found-footage adventure tale TrollHunter, a group of college filmmakers investigating the mysterious deaths of several bears in Norway track down a bear hunter who is anything but a bear hunter. What ensues is a surprisingly slick, engaging and fun movie about friendship, love and dogs. Or about trolls.
TrollHunter has been available in the United States for months, but I'd put it off for months, thinking it was a B-grade comedy and farce about trolls. I'd heard good things, but it hardly seemed like a movie that needed urgent attention. After all, I thought it was a B-grade comedy and farce about trolls.
The movie isn't a comedy, and it isn't a farce. It is, thankfully, about trolls, and pretty badass trolls at that.
Though the found-footage genre has been hit-or-miss lately, TrollHunter proves it isn't dead. While it's hard to imagine the three college students wouldn't bolt after their first encounter with a troll, the story's minor flaws are easy to overlook in the face of everything that's so good about this movie. Director and co-writer André Øvredal has assembled a near pitch-perfect film.
Øvredal superbly balances the serious production with the acceptance that the story is absolutely absurd. Sprinkled with humor, TrollHunter takes itself seriously without taking itself too seriously, treating the material with respect while having fun with it at the same time. TrollHunter isn't scary and it isn't even that exciting, and yet there's something that's gripping nonetheless.
The special effects are also surprisingly excellent, slightly surreal but seamless with the rest of the movie.
In fact, "surprising" aptly describes all elements of the movie. The acting isn't incredible, but it's surprisingly good. The production values are surprisingly excellent. The story is surprisingly engaging. And TrollHunter is, surprisingly, one of the most fun (editor's note: why can't "funnest" be made an official word?) movies of the year.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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