Tuesday, 15 November 2011
The Troll Hunter
What better film to kick off this blog, than the Troll Hunter! One of the best, and most innovative and unusual films of 2011.
This film is a fantastic Norwegian "Black Comedy", filmed on a hand-held camera in the style of The Blair Witch Project. It follows a gang of student documentary film makers as they track a hunter illegally killing bears in the Norwegian mountains. What they don't expect is that he's really working for the government "managing" the Troll outbreaks in the Norwegian countryside. Shot amongst breathtakingly beautiful landscapes, this film feels 'big'. It captures the essence of Norway, it's nature, history and folklore. Of course when this comes into contact with a cheesy horror movie setup, sparks are going to fly!
The obvious comparison for this film is "The Blair Witch Project", due to the way it is shot and the location, but rather than remind me of Blair Witch, I thought it had more of a feel of a fairytale Deliverance. It also seemed to have similar themes and issues to Deliverance, such as the clash between the beautiful yet hidden and hostile forces of nature, and the bland vulnerability of modern life, but with a much more absurd and cutting edge to it. The Folklore of Norway literally comes to life like a huge slap in the face, and can no longer be ignored.
The fact that the Trolls themselves, rendered in some of the most effective (at times subtle, at other times magnificent) CGI I have ever seen, feel real and strangely familiar, adds to the overall impact of the film. Most importantly, when the different Trolls are glimpsed, they are nothing like a terrifying inhuman Alien, or the supernatural and unseen "Blair Witch", or event the primitive redneck stereotypes of Deliverence, the Trolls are the magnificent, characterful, primeval god-like creatures of Norwegian folklore complete with all the cliches; they smell the blood of Christian men, turn to stone in sunlight etc. Fairytales and folklore, when you actually read them, are often incredibly dark and ancient tales, teaching lessons about respecing and fearing nature and it's beauty, wonder and danger.
This film is one of the most effective creature films I've ever seen. The Troll Hunter himself is an amazingly brilliant character, living in a world where primeval, archetypal creatures from nature clash against the banal burocracy with which it is often managed. Whilst reminding me of the artwork of John Bauer combined with the movies Jaws, Moby Dick, Deliverance, Monsters and even Let the Right One In, this film remains completely fresh and unique, and must be seen to be believed.m The silliness of the whole thing is a vital element, but one which could easily put someone off; we are used to straight Hollywood monster movies, full of cgi and explosions. Of course, if you are one of the boring bureaucrats this will all go straight over your head...still, cool cgi though!