Sunday April 23, 2017
Majestic fjords, murderous monsters and dark humour: Wolfgang Bang reckons Troll Hunter kicks big hairy buttocks.
A fiver from ASDA.
Because they couldn't place the demographic likely to watch this.
"The best monster movie since Jurassic Park!" shouts the strap line on the box.
But this isn't a boring set-piece CGI fest with a massive budget like Spielberg's wobbling celluloid donkey's dick of a fast-food tie-in.
While there are plenty of fisty, guns-blazing films with explosions galore that all follow the same plot line and which end up shoved onto supermarket shelves after their short cinematic release, Troll Hunter is not one of them.
Rather, Troll Hunter is truly inspired.
Written and directed by André Øvredal, Troll Hunter admittedly didn't get much of a cinematic release outside Norway when it came out last year.
Which is a shame because it boasts an excellent plot line, one that reveals that Norway isn't the place to go down to the woods for a teddy bears' picnic if you're a) a sheep b) a German tourist or c) a bear.
Or for that matter d) an ill-educated supermarket shopper who doesn't like subtitles and who can only fathom such visual subtleties as explosions and fist fights.
WHO YOU CALLING TOSSERLAD?
With its tiny budget for CGI and its cast of unknown actors, the film begins with a trio of young film makers wanting to discover who's been killing bears in the Norwegian mountains.
Severely disgruntled and unconvinced by the official explanation that it's just other bears behind the slaughter, the local licensed hunters figure a mysterious poacher is the culprit.
After following the supposed bear-slayer into the woods, though, the film crew are in for a jolt when they discover his quarry isn't ursine at all.
"TROOOLLL!" gets hollered at them but after running blindly in all directions they think that the ensuing panic is all for nothing...
Until, that is, a three-headed, 20 m tall, billy-goats-gruff-scarer comes smashing after them prior to its despatch by the alleged poacher and titular hero, who turns the beast (wonderfully named a Tosserlad) to stone with flashes of bright light.
Shocked, the group then watch as it's blown to gravel the next morning using Semtex, blast mats and a jackhammer for the big bits.
A THANKLESS JOB
But it's not easy being a troll hunter.
In fact this one's pretty pissed off with the job and close to jacking it all in.
Ex-special forces men working for the government on a shoestring don't get a lot of time off and aren't well paid, apparently.
Can we film you at work?
Is that a land mine I'm sitting on?
Yes, but don't worry, it's not armed.
And so the life of a troll hunter is revealed through each subsequent encounter with his dim-witted yet exceedingly dangerous adversaries.
Absolutely brilliant vérité style is used to good effect, unlaboured yet shaky in all the right places.
Meanwhile, the landscape is ruggedly eye-popping, even if it is perpetually raining, sleeting or misty.
Nevertheless, the cast work perfectly through the weather and the Norwegian folklore used as a basis for the hunted warty monstrosities is an excellent touch and has hilarious consequences.
Trolls, for example, can smell a Christian's blood.
PLEASE, NO REMAKES
As the film progresses, the viewer is drawn into the film in much the same way as German tourists and sheep are drawn into the jaws of the trolls.
The only disappointment was that the film had to end, so engrossing had it become.
But at least the climax is literally awesome.
Just pray that Hollywood doesn't make a remake, as rumour persists1, or that there's a sequel.
Indeed, an American sequel would be like suffering a fate worse than that of a German tourist party serenely hiking through the mountains and fjords of Norway oblivious to what lurks beneath the bridges and in the caves around them.
What a friend we have in Jesus... ROOOOOARRAGH!
1) Chief hack's note: Tough tits. According to the IMDb, "Summit Entertainment bought the rights to produce an American remake before [the] film's initial release".
Top and thumb: A scene from the film courtesy of Magnet Releasing.
Bottom: Otto Jespersen as the troll hunter. Photo courtesy of Magnet Releasing.
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