Troll Hunter Blu-ray & DVD

Saturday, 07 January 2012 10:54

Trolls are real. That is the premise of this ‘found footage’ monster movie, and after watching it you might just believe it is true. Following the tradition of “The Blair Witch Project” and “Cloverfield”, this movie posits that discovered home video has been discovered. It depicts an expedition into the beautiful Norwegian landscape by three research students who have heard about an enigmatic hunter called Hans (Otto Jespersen).

They eventually track Hans down and despite his best efforts to lose them, they follow his strangely battered Land Rover into a wood where they witness something terrifying. This is their first encounter with one of several species of troll, and once they have lived to tell the tale the students insist on joining Hans wherever he goes in search of these mythical creatures. During the course of their various expeditions they will encounter many more bizarre monsters and unearth a government conspiracy of literally gigantic proportions.

Troll Hunter on Blu-ray & DVDFor a foreign film “Troll Hunter” had an extraordinary amount of publicity last year, and although the characters all talk in their native Norwegian it is both very accessible and the concept translates well for international markets (even though it is allegedly already being considered for an American remake!). The movie is far less dour than “Cloverfield” and although it is played fairly straight there is a fair amount of subtle humour to keep things bubbling along.

The character of Hans is pivotal to the success of the film, and Jespersen fleshes him out as both a courageous India Jones-type but also a very normal person who is plagued by red tape and a dull existence when he is not out hunting. The other cast members are young, enthusiastic and ably convey their journey from playful skeptics to terrified first-hand witnesses, and then addicted researchers intent on uncovering all there is to know behind the troll myths.

What also helps this film succeed are the incredible special effects and superb sound design. When the trolls emerge they are wonderful and truly realistic creations that resemble something from a David Attenborough nature documentary (albeit it cursed with huge noses and covered in unsightly hair and growths). Their movement and behaviour is credible, and as the movie progresses we learn more and more detail about how they live, what they are and where they have come from.

The CGI and varied troll design is tremendous, and although a lot of the sightings are in semi-darkness or seen through a night-vision lens, they fit into their surroundings perfectly, casting shadows and moving trees and other obstacles around them as though they really are in the same frame as the human characters. The sound effects help to stimulate the imagination when the trolls are not on-screen, be it howls, growls and roars as they crash about, or the thunderous, ground-shaking thuds as they approach, T-Rex style.

These are staggering creatures that you will fear but may also feel some empathy for, especially when Hans decides he has to kill them to stop them straying too close to civilisation.

The hand-held camera work is occasionally dizzying but most of the time it draws the audience into the film, lending believability to the fake-documentary narrative and helping to inspire panic and fear when the characters flee from the trolls.

As mentioned above there are moments of delightful humour, such as when Hans dons absurd home-made body armour in a bid to get close enough to a troll to take a blood sample, using a massive syringe. To lure the troll out he uses three bleating goats tethered to a bridge as bait, and once the troll turns up we see its arm emerge from below and feel about in search of its prey like a cat pawing playfully at a toy mouse. Moments like this keep the tone fresh and provide contrast to more serious and scary scenes.

Simply put this is an excellent creature feature with heaps of charm, state of the art effects, an amiable cast and the pace is expertly judged to keep us intrigued and entertained until the closing credits. Highly recommended, especially on Blu-ray where the picture detail is superb and really captures the beauty of the Norwegian mountains and lakes; even night scenes are clearly defined.

Special Features include:

  • Trailer
  • Deleted scenes
  • Improvs and bloopers
  • Extended scenes
  • Visual effects
  • Behind the scenes
  • HDNet: A Look at Troll Hunter
  • Photo galleries

Rather than concentrate on a bumper making-of featurette, this list of bonus content gives you most of what you would expect but in isolated chunks. The best components are the visual effects montages which show pre/post-rendered models and shots, and the behind the scenes video which highlights what fun the crew appeared to have despite it evidently being very cold during the shoot. A typically droll moment is when star Otto Jespersen is asked what it is like to have to sport a fake beard all day long on location; his response is ‘It’s like something’s stuck to your face for several hours.’ Okay, perhaps you had to be there…

“Troll Hunter" (2010) is out now on DVD and Blu-ray, courtesy of Momentum Pictures. The main feature has a running time of 103 minutes approx, carries a ‘15’ certificate and retails for £17.99 on DVD and £19.99 on Blu-ray, or less from www.culttvstore.com

Last modified on Thursday, 10 May 2012 16:37

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