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Sundance 2011 Film Review: The Troll Hunter

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The Park City at Midnight films sure do offer up some of the more interesting lot of the Sundance Film Festival. These are films I typically always catch at a midnight screening in Salt Lake City at the Tower Theatre. Here is where I’ve seen the likes of Saw, The Descent and last year’s needs-distribution-now cause, Tucker & Dale vs Evil. This year however, while I had a ticket for Hobo with a Shotgun but was unable to attend, I did see enough of The Troll Hunter to gather the opinion that it is far from in the same league as the other films mentioned.



In Troll Hunter, a group of Norwegian film students learn that their local government has been covering up the existence of trolls for years. They ban together with local troll hunter extraordinaire, Hans (Otto Jespersen) and learn that most people don’t see the behemoth trolls lurking out in the wilderness because they don’t believe in them enough. We also find out that trolls can smell and hate Christians (much to one student’s demise) and have a taste for sheep. Setting out with a truck bed mounted raver-styled proton pack; they set out to capture the truth even if it kills them.

Director/writer André Øvredal lets the shenanigans swing far too wildly and even more abruptly from horror to fantasy and from slapstick to satire at the drop of a hat. The film lacks focus and the use of the mockumentary film style is completely unnecessary. You can tell that Øvredal was madly seeking the next big midnight movie hit and it seems to be a real crowd pleaser based on the applause that followed the screening.

Had the film been made more traditionally the tonal shifts would have fared better and the scenes that actually worked would have really knocked it out of the park. The final joke is by far the best and funniest at least but alas, there’s just a hodgepodge of too many clashing ideas that never gel and at 104 minutes, unfortunately The Troll Hunter is just entirely way too long to boot. However, already snatched up by Magnet Releasing, along with this year’s other festival treats, Hobo with a Shotgun and I Saw the Devil, this is surely coming soon to a theater near you but it’s probably better to just wait for the video release.

Photo courtesy Magnet Releasing

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About Cinenerd

A Utah based writer, born and raised in Salt Lake City, UT for better and worse. Cinenerd has had an obsession with film his entire life, finally able to write about them since 2009, and the only thing he loves more are his wife and their two wiener dogs (Beatrix Kiddo and Pixar Animation). He is accredited with the Sundance Film Festival and a member of the Utah Film Critics Association.
  • Are you serious?

    Really strange review…

    You say you saw enough of the film to gather that it was not in the same league as some other films, meaning you admit to reviewing a film you didn´t actually see?


    Congratulations on breaking new ground in the area of movie reviewing. Or at least you deserve cudos for pretending to be a reviewer. Not everybody have the balls to do that.

  • You try staying awake for more than 75% of this mess at a midnight screening…

    Seriously, good luck!

  • gavinlondonuk

    Depends what you look for in a movie. This is “NOT” Monsters where you are expecting a horror flick that ends up totally flat. At the same time it is not really a horror flick in any way. If you enjoy shit thats made in the USA and think movies like IRON MAN are what its all about then this movie aint for you. I like my Green Screen no brain movies but i have been eagerly waiting for this movie and it has ended up being a cracker.

    Open your eyes just sit back and watch it if you have not done so. This is one of the best movies in recent years. A few odd bits here and there but nothing worth really picking out. I could have watched it another hour to be honest.

    Wicked movie and original in the story and just being different.

    Sorry but the write up on this movie on this page is wrong. It is a unique and well worth the watch

  • MH

    I think it’s time critics stop being critical all the time, it seems that it’s their job to find fault in everything. No film is perfect and ever will be, it’s also a matter of personal taste.

    This film is brilliant. A refreshing style of movie (yes, the style has been done before) which is not like the standard hollywood-esque mush we’re used to. The fact that it was filmed/made via an independent group makes it demonstrate what people outside of the hollywood clique are capable of. Hopefully the original will be out worldwide before the guaranteed US remake is….