Norwegian director Andre Ovredal raises the bar for the 'found footage' horror documentary genre.
Director: André Øvredal Rating: PG-13 Studio: Filmkameratene A/S
If any balloon of pretense needed pricking, it’s the whole “found footage” horror documentary thing foisted on us by the ridiculously over-praised The Blair Witch Project and successors like Paranormal Activity. That clichéd nonsense gets sent up with bone-dry wit, low humor and high style by Norwegian director André Øvredal in the deadpan and highly entertaining Trollhunter.
The idea is that we’re looking at unedited, mysteriously abandoned footage from a student film crew who slowly—way too slowly—came to realize that trolls aren’t just mythical ogres out of fairytales. It turns out that Norway’s picturesque fjords, forests and mountains are teeming with giant, scary-funny, out-of-control trolls that must constantly be contained or else the country’s human and animal population will be decimated. Who knew?
The whole movie, a little King Kong here, a little Moby Dick and Jaws there, zings with humor, and although the “students” are generic and tiresome, Otto Jespersen as the grouchy, tired, overworked, underpaid civil servant title character almost steals the show. The real stars, though, are the computer-generated trolls and director Øvredal, who stages some powerful, frightening and touching sequences—especially one on a bridge involving some poor animals and superb use of silence. You’ll see.
The movie is riddled with inconsistencies, goofs and false steps (let alone its being easily 20 minutes too long) but, hey, it’s a fun, silly, sometimes thrilling ride. Director Christopher Columbus has already announced an American remake. Talk about frightening.