Being a lover of Scandinavian sagas and myths, not to mention European independent cinema, there was never going to be an issue about me seeing this movie. The movie is based on some lost video footage which now found, is the basis for the offering.
When a group of college students decide to look into the activities of a certain hunter, who they believe to be responsible for a number of illegal bear killings, they find a secret far darker and a conspiracy far deeper than they ever imagined. They quickly learn that the small community of bear hunters in Norway know nothing of this man and that he is not licenced as a hunter.
Following him to attempt an interview, they eventually follow him into a dark woods one night, only to have him come screaming at their camera “Troll , run!” It turns out that he is a disgruntled government employee, he belongs to a secret Norwegian government agency directed to control the local troll populations and keep them on their “reservations”.
What happens is a cinema vérité journey through Norway which turns out to be a suspenseful, comedic and visually rewarding trip. Director, Andre Ovredal knows how to tell a story. After being reluctant to engage with the students, our hunting hero, against the wishes of his superiors, (Hans, played by Otto Jaspersen) decides to bring them along with him as he investigates sightings, battles trolls and works with the Polish “cleaners” who stage the sites and make any kills or damage look like bear attacks. This sub plot makes for some hilarious moment. The comedy is, overall subtle and situational with a little slap-stick thrown in for good measure. We see the power lines in the mountains which go nowhere and the battle armour on the bridge.
Not sufficient just to tell the story of the search, Ovredal educates us with a full lesson on the different species of troll and their various characteristics, this in itself adds to the sense of surrealism.
Some scenes, which in another setting, would have had us on the edge or out, of our seats miss that edginess due to the nature of the film. This does not take away however from the overall movie.
All of the young actors were up to the task and performed well, as did the support cast. Jaspersen is the human star of the movie and he carries it well. The movie was made on a quite a meagre budget but this does not show. The CGI generated trolls are excellent and certainly achieved value for money. Needless to say when the Hollywood version is released (in 2014) the budget will be far larger, I’m not sure if the end result will be any better though.
8/10, it might almost hit 9. Great fun and well worth a viewing.