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Reviewed by: Ammon Gilbert

Directed by: Andre Ovredal

Otto Jespersen
Robert Stoltenberg
Knut Nśrum

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What's it about
Three students from a local college begin to investigate bear deaths for a school report (a reporter, a cameraman, a sound chick), when the stumble across a man whose job is to hunt down and kill trolls throughout the Norwegian countryside. The students have never been seen again, but here is the footage of the events that took place during their investigation...
Is it good movie?
Over a decade ago, the world was transfixed by the unique and absolutely terrifying found footage style of filmmaking of THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT. Over the years weíve come across a variety of horror films that dabble in this genre, including PARANORMAL ACTIVITY, [REC], THE LAST EXORCISM, CLOVERFIELD, and most recently, APOLLO 18. To put it mildly, theyíre all the rage nowadays though not all of them actually amount to a whole helluva lot (PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 2, Iím talking to you!). But every once in awhile one shows up and makes you forget about the bad ones and remember that this type of filmmaking can be quite good, if done correctly, and TROLL HUNTER is one of those times.

Perhaps itís the magnitude and scale of the trolls themselves, or the solid quality of the special effects to make the trolls look like the real deal, or (more than likely) itís because thereís actually a lot going on in TROLL HUNTER, not just a lot of waiting around for something to happen. I also think it helps these type of flicks if itís done like a mockumentary moreso than just found footage of some yahoos with a video camera, making their interaction with the camera (since theyíre professionals) all that more believable. It worked for [REC] and THE LAST EXORCISM, and damnit, it works for TROLL HUNTER too.

Another plus for this one is the soggy, green, and almost-always moist terrain of Norway that adds to the appeal of this flick. Shot on location, the filmmakers used the rocks, trees, caves, and lonely roads that cover the country to their advantage and gave reasons for everything as having to do with keeping trolls contained and under control. That random rock over there? Troll food. Those powerlines? Act as an electric fence for trolls. All those fallen trees? Again, trolls on a rampage. Thereís so much alluding to about the trolls that when you actually start seeing them, itís awe-inducing. And yes! You get to see trollsÖ and lots of them! Very cool, as I assumed that theyíd tease about trolls off camera but only actually show you just snippets of them doing their thing.

That said, the trolls are revealed a little too early in the film, thus making the tension and the build up to their revelation all but non-existent. It would have done the flick justice if it took the JAWS route of filmmaking and featured the trolls trudging around the forest off screen until, finally, a reveal of all reveals happens and a troll bursts out and effs some stuff up. As it is, you see the first troll a half hour in and see other trolls throughout the rest of the run time. Again, itís not really a bad thing, but after the initial confrontation with the trolls, the compelling wonder of whether the trolls really exist and if youíre going to actually see one goes away and then youíre just along for the ride, wondering whatís next. As if the film is essentially a one-hit joke that tells the punch line a little too early for it to be truly effective.

Pretty small complaint overall though, as I was thoroughly entertained the whole way through and dug how different yet how the same it was to other mockumentary-style scare flicks. The other area the flick excels at is the sound effects. Holy hell does the sound of trolls snarling, grunting, growling, and trudging through the forest while destroying everything in its path absolutely extraordinary, especially when itís all happening behind the camera, so you canít actually see what the hell is going on, you can only hear its destructive force. Itís amazing and adds to the sheer terror and excitement of the movie as a whole. Bravo to the Dolby mixers on this one!

Due to the setting and the focus of the film, TROLL HUNTER is essentially a mix between THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT (crazy shit happening in the woods) and CLOVERFIELD (a giant monster on a path of mass destruction). If you liked those two flicks, youíre gonna love TROLL HUNTER.

Video / Audio
Video: Presented in 1.78:1 Widescreen, fills your entire HDTV, making the trolls larger than life. While this is a news crew, the footage is more film like and therefore looks pretty solid, even during the scenes that are (intentionally) too dark or using night vision.

Audio: 5.1 Dolby Digital surround sound comes in handy when the trolls are smashing around off screen, adding to the entire effect of the movie. The film's original Norwegian soundtrack is preserved along with a dubbed version in English. Do yourself a favor and watch the original film with English subtitles, it's way better that way.

The Extras
Deleted Scenes: A collection of 5 deleted scenes not found in the final film, featuring everything from collecting troll evidence, to visiting the TSS, to coming across a possible wolf sighting and a giant troll hairball. Not a bad collection of scenes, especially if you're a fan of the movie, but due to their slow nature, it's obvious why they were cut. Altogether, there's not more than 5 minutes total of extra footage here.

Improv and Bloopers: As suggested, two scenes of improv by the actors and a reel of bloopers during the making of the film. The improv on the trashed car and the frozen pizza feel more like deleted scenes than the actual feature. The only bummer is that there simply isn't enough bloopers go go around.

Extended Scenes: A visit to the power station, the drop-off bear service, and the breakfast at the diner are presented here, just a little bit longer than what ended up in the final cut. Again, cool to check out but not enough to make it all that awesome.

Visual Efects: A special look at how they did the troll effects for each of the sequences in the film, including the models used and the digital manipulating and CGI action it took to make it all look as cool as it does. The greatest part of this feature: you get a really clear look at all the trolls in the flick. The worst part of this feature? No sound.

Behind the Scenes: A number of behind the scene snippets of scenes, props, and all the other levels of movie magic that went into making this flick happen. Prop makers, lighting dudes, cameramen, etc... If you thought it was just a few people and a dude holding a camera, this should debunk that theory right away. Remember when things weren't long enough? That ends here with this feature.

Photo Galleries: A number of sketches and art on the trolls themselves as well as their habitat. Unlike other galleries, this one is to music and you can't control the pace. But that's ok, cause the drawings are cool and the music is classical.

HDNet: A Look at Trollhunter: A featurette on TROLLHUNTER from HDNet, release at the time of the film's original theatrical release. It's about as 'making-of' as you can get.

Trailers: A collection of other trailers from Magnolia Home Entertainment.

Last Call
Successfully blending the realities of BLAIR WITCH PROJECT to the enormity of CLOVERFIELD, TROLLHUNTER is a first-person / found-footage mockumentary that manages to scare its audience and make everyone watching believe in trolls. Great effects, spectacular sound, and an awesome vision brings the tale to life. Packed with enough extras to satisfy any fan of the movie, TROLLHUNTER is a fun ride that could have been a whole helluva lot worse.
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