middle of the night, in a forest somewhere in Norway. Three college
students are nervously standing around, waiting for the mysterious Hans
to return. You are the fourth person, viewing the world through the lens
of the group’s handheld camera. Something roars in the night, too loud
and too angry to be a bear. A series of bright flashes lights up the top
of a hill, revealing the skeletal black limbs of pine trees. A few
moments later Hans crashes out of the undergrowth, wide-eyed, bellowing
one of the more memorable scenes from Troll hunter, a clever little film
from Norwegian writer/director Andre Ovredal. The film starts off with
the three students interviewing hunters about a suspected poacher who is
shooting and then dumping bears. The trail leads them to the enigmatic
figure of Hans, who makes nightly trips into the wilderness in his
strangely outfitted vehicle. Hans reluctantly agrees to tell his story
on camera, but only if the filmmakers promise to follow his instructions
to the letter. After several terrifying encounters in the forest with
impossible creatures, Hans slowly reveals the truth: That trolls do
exist, and that his job is to stop them coming into conflict with
is told as a mocumentary, in a similar vein to The Blair Witch
Project or Cloverfield. The camera work is handheld, and
edited to make it look as though it has been pieced together from
different snippets of footage.
handheld technique can be quite chaotic in the more action-oriented
scenes, but there are plenty of long, steady shots, and you do get a
very good view of the creatures early on. This could have ruined the
suspense, but the CGI effects are good enough to ensure that this is not
not overtly frightening for most of its running time, Troll Hunter is
certainly unsettling. One particular scene is a good example: Some
sheep have been tied up on a bridge, and the students are filming it
from a distance as they wait for the troll to appear. As the sounds of
the monster become louder and closer you’ll find yourself fixated on the
bridge, waiting for the attack… only to be shocked when it comes from
somewhere completely unexpected.
unpredictability that makes Troll Hunter so captivating and fun to
a few moments, however, that strain the bounds of believability. Almost
everything that the characters see as they drive through the countryside
is attributed to troll behaviour: This boulder field was the scene of a
battle, these upturned rocks and snapped trees are where they passed
through, that power line is actually an electric fence designed to keep
them away from people… it goes on. Sometimes you feel as if the writers
have tried to explain too much, when it should have been left more
scenes feature lots of black, impenetrable shadows and a persistent
graininess to the image, all of which helps heighten the tension. The
daylight scenes are very clean and realistic by comparison. As said the
CGI effects are good, and they’re never pushed to do too much; the
monsters are usually seen behind the green filter of night-vision or the
mist of a snowstorm, revealing just enough detail without making them
look fake. Your sub and mid-range speakers will get a workout from the
various roars, grunts and crunches that the beasties make. This is
definitely a movie you’ll want to watch with the bass turned up and the
As well as
a few Madman trailers, you have the following:
Deleted Scenes: A few bits of extra
padding that were omitted, with good reason.
?Improv and bloopers: A very short
segment showing us some scenes that didn’t go as planned.
?Extended scenes: These contain
alternative dialogue sequences and extra back-story.
?Visual effects: Some before and after
shots of the various scenes receiving CGI treatment.
?Behind the scenes: Actor Glenn
Tosterud takes us onto the set, through the make-up department and
through the creation of several key scenes.
?Photo galleries: Some concept drawings
and photographs used in pre-production.
Hunter is appealing because it’s so different from the horror norm. The
filmmakers had a rich and unique mythology to play with, and they’ve
made the most of it. Well worth a watch!