Three students from the Univesity of Volda are making a documentary, and stumble upon a man who people believe is a poacher. The students decide to follow the old man into the woods one night to find out what he really is doing, but what they find is much worse than shooting bears. He's hunting trolls. After the chaotic night in the woods, the man allows them to film him when he tracks down the trolls.
The norwegians have been spitting out plenty of successful films in the recent years, but I must say I haven't been impressed. "Fritt Vilt" was a decent slasher, that's about it for me. I thought that "Død Snø" was a really boring zombie film that I even had a hard time sitting through. But I had high hopes for "Trolljegeren". I dig mockumentaries, I dig large monsters, and there are very few films about folklore trolls. These things sparked a genuine interest in the film and I have been almost scared of watching it because I knew my expectations were high. Admittedly, it wasn't as good as I originally had hoped for, but that's no to say that it was a bad movie. Not at all, I had a very good time with it.
We follow three students when they start documenting the days of an old man who says he hunts trolls. And that's all there is to the story. But there is plenty of work behind it, as we get to see his entire day routines and there's much more going on than just seeing him hunt trolls. Little things like him filling out papers after each troll he kills, the veterinarian who wants a blood sample, and of course the fact that the government doesn't want people to know about the trolls. I was really annoyed that the government was involved again, that seems like a really typical approach to a story like this and it has been done to death. I don't know what I would've preferred but even just an outbreak of trolls that the government didn't know about would have worked a lot better. Not that it really matters too much anyway since it's a pretty small part of the story. Just a bit of lazy writing, I think.
The movie is fun even though it doesn't bring anything new to the table outside of the use of actual Scandinavian folklore trolls which was fun. It's hardly a horror movie but rather an adventure film in the likes of "Jurassic Park". And that's fine, it just shouldn't be advertised as anything other than that. And that takes me to my second annoyance - the advertisement. I think they show way too much of the trolls in ads, posters and covers. We already know how all trolls are gonna look before we see the movie and that took a lot out of it for me. I would've loved to have been surprised when they first see a troll, but I couldn't since I already knew how it would look. The same thing goes for the Jotun troll, which is the biggest and the last troll they hunt. It kills a lot of the suspense.
Effect-wise it's great. The trolls look exactly like I grew up thinking they looked, and they manage to fit them into the real world perfectly even though you can see that it's CGI (I think this is why they wanna show the trolls so much in ads and such too, because they know they look good and it will get people excited). They also feature some trolls anyone familiar with the folklores would recognize. I think the most recognizable one is from the Three Billy Goats Gruff tale. To be honest, I think all of them were taken from real tales, but that's the easiest one to spot because it's so apparent when they even put three goats on the bridge in the movie.
"Trolljegeren" is a pretty good adventure flick that might not be all that original, but it's sure to offer some entertainment for the night. It's one of few Norwegian films I've liked and it's much better than "Cloverfield" was, which is the closest film I could think of. Anyone could enjoy this film for what it is, it's well-made and even has a Norwegian celebrity as the lead, so it's definitely not a small underground movie. Just don't expect more than a semi-comedic adventure mockumentary (with great effects). Don't expect to be scared (even though it has some suspense) and don't expect something groundbreaking, then you'll be fine!