Trollhunter is a mock doc that drains the magic out of troll-hunting
Alleged to be compiled of found college-project footage from a group of missing students, Trollhunter begins as an investigative report by aspiring Norwegian Michael Moores, trailing RV-driving loner Hans (Otto Jespersen). Suspected of bear poaching, Hans is revealed instead to be the field agent in a government conspiracy to cover up the existence of very real, very large trolls. Unlike the recent Last Exorcism, which managed to energize the weary horror mock-doc conceit through sustained uncertainty, Trollhunter dispenses with skepticism as a suspense element: Trolls are spotted early, nakedly viewed. In place is the film's (one) joke: draining the magic and thrill out of trollhunting. Social Democratic bureaucracy, paperwork, and systemized corruption have bogged down even Hans's seemingly adventuresome government job, which he discusses with a Dirty Jobs air of bored expertise. The result of this intentional banalization, perhaps not unexpectedly, is that Trollhunter is often a dull movie, with Jespersen's deadpan and the interference of an incompetent front-office type (Robert Stoltenberg) providing what comedy there is. The panicked, jittery-camera action scenes work well enough, and one sees much scenery and learns a great deal about the habits of trolls—though as de-mythologizings go, Trollhunter has neither the wit, nor the art, nor the social insight to honor the legacy of George A. Romero's Martin.
Get the Film Club Newsletter
Stay up to date on the best new movies with our critics' latest reviews, interviews and trailers for the films coming to a theater near you each week.