Friday, February 4, 2011

Sundance 2011 Film Review: “The Troll Hunter”

The tagline reads, "You'll Believe It When You See It..." you'll only believe how boring it is.

Article first published as Sundance 2011 Film Review: The Troll Hunter on Blogcritics.

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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