TrollHunter - DVD Review

'at least Cloverfield, with all its problems, managed to create a sense that something happened before the ruddy great monster attacked... TrollHunter never gets close to this.'

André Øvredal's Norwegian found-footage film, TrollHunter is a loose mish-mash of all of the elements that have come to be regarded as failings of the sub-genre. Shaky cameras to show people running away in terror, an ambiguous and misguided ending, slightly too-annoying-for-their-own-good main characters, a lack of development of said characters; all the failings associated with the genre are present and correct and ultimately, Øvredal's film just doesn't do enough to overcome them.

The last one of that mini list - a lack of character development - is worth dwelling on. In most found footage material, and certainly here in TrollHunter, we are presented with a heavily edited version of a non-professional piece of filming, ostensibly a home movie. There's no footage of your Uncle's banal conversation about cheese, there's no moment where your kid Sister turns it on by mistake and catches you saying something you shouldn't, there's no larking around filming the pet dog; there's no background information. At least Cloverfield, with all its problems, managed to create a sense that something happened before the ruddy great monster attacked. It managed to convince us that the annoying people whose company we kept were friends. TrollHunter never gets close to this.

What's left to admire is what's left to admire in your common or garden Michael Bay film. There's some nice special effects, some lovely location work, a gruff sage-like giver of advice (Otto Jespersen) and a moment or two of well judged action, but, as a whole, that doesn't make up a narratively satisfying fantasy-horror. Like 2010's Monsters, the trolls appear infrequently but, unlike Monsters, in this film that actually matters.

The end seems to decide to be ambiguous only because it is aware of the genre it moves in and ambiguous endings are just the 'done thing' around here. There's no real reason for it and the narrative arc explored previously doesn't justify it. The introduction of a further character to the group all of five minutes before the reel stops running hints that no-one really had any idea how the thing was meant to conclude and someone took a brief stab at it in the editing room. Also loses points for failing to make use of The Automatic's Monster, which would have been hilarious. Probably.

Look further...

'a great watch not just for the garden variety horror fan, but for someone fascinated by the rough and epic beauty of the wild Norwegian landscape' - Front Room Cinema, 4/5


  1. Interesting review. I just saw this a couple weeks ago and enjoyed it much more. I actually dug the open ending, that felt real and right on to me, for a pseudo-doc anyway.

    That said, I can't argue with your points about the lack of character - at least with the kids doing the filming - and the 2nd camera person that just shows up at the end....yeah, that was weak. And seemed easily avoidable.

    1. It does seem that I'm clearly in the minority on this one but yeah, it just didn't do it for me. I never bought into the trolls, never felt scared, never really felt that thrilled or... anything really. Just didn't click for me.