We’ve all been there: it’s a Wednesday afternoon and there’s nothing to do. But have no fear, Netflix is here! You’re looking through their selection of movies and TV series until you find something that catches your interest. But then there are those days. Those days when you don’t feel like going where everybody knows your name (and they’re always glad you came) or you’re just not into looking back with wonder. No. You want some good ole’ stupid fun and so you end up watching a movie with a title like “Pirate Werewolf vs. The Hitler Ninjas” (admit it, you would totally watch that if it existed). So that’s where we begin.
For me, that title was “Trollhunter.” A Norwegian film in the style made famous by “The Blair Witch Project” and made popular by “Paranomal Activity.” It’s poster even looked like the work of SyFy. I had to watch it. The film is about a group of college students, led by Thomas (Glenn Erland Tosterud) who follow a bear poacher named Hans (Otto Jespersen). They follow the mysterious figure into the forest and discover that he isn’t hunting for bears after all. But for trolls. This discovery leads to an entire conspiracy that includes the involvement of the Norwegian government who actually employ troll hunters to keep them from going into populated areas. They learn that trolls can smell the blood of a Christian, that there are many different types of trolls, and that they can turn into stone if they are hit by sunlight. There’s a science behind this theory, I just don’t care enough to look it up.
I know, it sounds like a stupid movie just by the plot alone, but that wasn’t the case. Director André Øvredal masterfully exhibits the natural beauty of Norway through a style of film-making that some would consider sloppy. I was assaulted with beautiful dramatic landscapes of the Scandinavian fjords and forests. It’s as if the locations were a character themselves. It makes you wonder whether or not trolls do exist in this fantastic landscape. Look I know trolls don’t exist (only on the internet) but there’s something about the location that makes you feel like anything is possible. I’m reminded of something that a teacher who visited Scotland once told me. She stood overlooking the infamous Loch Ness and felt that the entire feeling of the place made you believe that there had to be something of crypto-zoological importance underneath the murky waters. The landscapes of Norway do that too. It’s as if the secondary objective of this film was to aid tourism to the country.
Obviously the cultural fraction of Norway also prevails in what I think is a love letter to the great Norwegian culture. There’s nothing wrong with that, it’s his film, he can do whatever he wants with it. After watching the film, I Googled trolls according to Norway and found that they look exactly like the trolls in folklore. I have no problem with that. I don’t even have a problem with the tasteful reference to the three Billy-goats fairy tale. My only problem with this film is that it can’t decide whether or not it’s a comedy. On Netflix, it is under the category of “Horror.” But I don’t see it that way; I see it more like a comedic homage to the found footage genre. This is an outrageous story that I believe is much more fitting for the likes of a director like Edgar Wright (“Shaun of the Dead” & “Hot Fuzz”).