Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr
Empire
Trending On Empire
100 Greatest Videos Games Of All Time
Robin Williams: The Big Interview
Empire Visits The Hobbit's VFX Team
Nick Frost:
My Movie Life

The World's End star's pick of the flicks
4Music's Size Does Matter
Introducing your new favourite app
Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
15
Cast
Otto Jespersen
Robert Stoltenberg
Glenn Erland Tosterud
Johanna Mørck.
Directors
André Øvredal.
Screenwriters
André Øvredal.
Running Time
103 minutes

LATEST FILM REVIEWS
Watermark
3 Star Empire Rating
They Came Together
3 Star Empire Rating
Attila Marcel
3 Star Empire Rating
Life Of Crime
3 Star Empire Rating
Island Of Lemurs: Madagascar
3 Star Empire Rating



5 STAR REVIEWS
Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari, The
5 Star Empire Rating
Two Days, One Night
5 Star Empire Rating
Some Like It Hot
5 Star Empire Rating
A Hard Day's Night
5 Star Empire Rating
Boyhood
5 Star Empire Rating

Troll Hunter
Move over vampires, werewolves…


submit to reddit


Plot
Student filmmakers Thomas (Glenn Erland Tosterud) and Johanna (Johanna Mørck) set out to shoot a documentary about bear-hunting in Norway and trail mysterious, well-armed woodsman Hans (Otto Jesperson), whom they assume is a poacher. However, Hans turns out to be a government-sanctioned operative protecting the country from the ravages of giant trolls. Tired of secret heroism, the Troll Hunter lets the crew film his battles with monsters at great risk to themselves.


Review
Troll Hunter
In the last ten years, ‘found footage’ horror movie — presenting scratchy-looking scenes which document actual events, shot by characters who almost certainly didn’t survive them — has become its own sub-genre. The Blair Witch Project, the breakthrough film in this category, adopted shaky-cam and improvised chatter from budgetary necessity, since its makers’ resources didn’t stretch to having the witch show up onscreen. Since then, the form has evolved, and it’s no longer a matter of making do with suggestion because there isn’t enough money for a monster. In the era of Cloverfield, even productions which can afford state-of-the-art effects go to some trouble to mimic the rough-and-ready feel of penurious efforts such as Man Bites Dog or Paranormal Activity. After a reel or two of ciné-vérité jitter and whiskery Norwegian mumbling, it’s something of a shock when this picture from a not-yet-fashionable territory delivers big-scale action and effects far more sophisticated, imaginative and impressive than those of, say, Clash Of The Titans. This is not a picture to skimp on the giant monster action.

Like Rare Exports, which put a black comic-horrific Finnish spin on the legend of Santa Claus, Troll Hunter reclaims a local mythology which has been watered down in international pop culture. The whole picture seems based on an offhand remark by the Prime Minister of Norway at a press conference, when he lets slip that the ugly pylons which carry power-lines through picturesque remote areas are a necessity because “Norway has trolls”. The cables are really electric fences designed to keep the man-slaying giants out of inhabited areas. Otto Jesperson makes an indelible character out of the veteran troll-hunter who gives the callow filmmakers an insight into his profession. The movie trots out its troll lore with a straight face, and builds big scenes around such gimmicks as the monster traditionally lurking under a bridge and an ogre’s ability to sniff out the true Christians which are its favoured snacks. When the secret true believer in the group meets an unfortunate end, the filmmakers are forced to hire a Muslim replacement — though an opening caption indicates that this crew are as likely to join the missing lists as the Blair Witch trio.

The format lets Jesperson create a character, but shoves almost all the other players offscreen for the most part (a given in these films, where someone has to hold the camera). The structure is much the same as any Ray Harryhausen picture: every ten minutes a new monster shows up, roaring and blustering, forcing the heroes to devise a means of defeating it, while the incidental body count rises. The creatures here have more character than most monsters, since trolls are a sub-humanoid race with individual traits rather than simple dinosaur or blob-type monsters. There is even an attempt to evoke sympathy for a perhaps-endangered species and suggest that the ruthless Norwegian state, which goes out of its way to provide cover stories to conceal monster activity, is partially responsible for the unending troll wars.


Verdict
You might need to take a Norwegian guide along to explain various local references and identify the specific trolls, but Troll Hunter’s proud cultural identity — tremble, a US remake is in the works — is its strongest suit. It’s wry, spectacular fun.


Reviewed by Kim Newman

Write Your Review
To write your review please login or register.

Your Reviews

Average user rating for Troll Hunter
Empire Star Rating

Troll Hunter

Troll Hunter arrives during a slew of far-too many found footage films. But while the realistic aspect never catches on, it's nearly impossible to imagine a film like this without the Blair Witch style, for this is an off-beat, uneven, and insightful look into both trolls and Norwegians. And from André Øvredal's first full-scale film, we learn that both are extraordinary creatures that need more insight in our media. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by norgizfox at 01:19, 17 December 2012 | Report This Post


Www.fivestarscream.ucoz.com

Troll hunter speaks for itself really, its a film about people who hunt down trolls. It sounds rediculous you say? What gave you that idea?! Troll Hunter has a powerful concept that drags the scenes along, if it wasnt for the story being extremely original this film would have been a big bowl of nothing. I enjoyed the film when the trolls entered the screen but all the other scenes just contain too much planning and explaining; in other words its too boring. I liked the film but i felt like it h... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by jackcarlin18 at 03:24, 02 September 2012 | Report This Post


One too many POV movies

I have watched too many POV movies lately, and I didn't think too much of this one. Nice to see a Norwegian movie, and Norway looks fabulous, but I think I may have enjoyed a real documentary, (maybe one about bears!) a little bit more. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by danielthompson99 at 00:46, 24 June 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Trollhunter

Think I'd have enjoyed Troll Hunter more if I hadn't seen the trailer. Thought I was going to see an action movie about a guy ..well hunting trolls. Instead it's kinda a slow movie about a guy who follows them around. Probally due to the budget the trolls are used sparingly (but effectivally) throughout the movie, so if you're prepared to spend most of your time watching a bunch of people drive around the countryside there is a very interesting movie to be had here. ... More

Posted by blackduck at 13:16, 04 April 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Trollhunter

So Scandinavia has trolls it seems hmmm well you could believe it after watching this film if 'The Blair Witch Project' hadn't been made first of course ere is your problem really, the way the film is made from start to finish is really a rip of 'TBWP' right down to the text warnings at the beginning/end of the film. You really can't help but compare the two, the only difference being one is witches one is trolls. Let me be clear that's totally fine as the film is actually a pretty neat my... More

Posted by Phubbs at 07:51, 04 April 2012 | Report This Post


Trollhunter

Okay. Did not enjoy. Weird. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by lynnshep at 22:44, 23 February 2012 | Report This Post


Trollhunter

Okay. Did not enjoy. Weird. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by lynnshep at 22:44, 23 February 2012 | Report This Post


Meh

It was good in parts, but mostly dull repetitive nonsense. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Coyleone at 00:52, 24 January 2012 | Report This Post


TROLLTASTIC!!!!

This was truly one of the best suprises I had at the cinema last year! It does employ the same 'Blair Witch' shaky cam/ steady cam style of film making; but makes the most of it. There are some fantastic set-pieces with the wonderfully designed and animated Trolls, and some truly imaginative ways of disposing them!! There is a great sense of mythology about the creatures which is represented and discussed through-out the movie as our Troll hunters go about their vid-cam experience; also some ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Ramone87 at 21:34, 15 January 2012 | Report This Post


Loved it!

Just got this on DVD after missing it at the cinema and I must say I loved it! I'm not the biggest fan of the hand held camera style action/horror but this had a nice feel to it and was quite an original idea. The relatively unknown Norwegian cast were pretty good and the effects were spot on. It does have a bit of a build up and isn't completely action packed but I certainly wasn't bored and felt very satisfied by the end. I really hope this is the start of what could be a great trilogy ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by dannyfletch at 21:28, 12 January 2012 | Report This Post


RE: confused as to what all the fuss is about ...

Im not saying that I cant watch a movie thats pretending to be found footage.... I loved air Witch when it came out and there have been some othere goodies too - just dont think this movie captured my attention enough to keep me engrossed thru all the shakey cam, jump cuts and slow dialogue that the 'found footage' genre brings with it. In going for the 'this is real' angle they have to sacrifice a lot in terms of other elements that other movies use as their bread and butter to make them... More

Posted by sillitoechris at 11:52, 20 September 2011 | Report This Post


RE: confused as to what all the fuss is about ...

I'm not sure I understand the whole 'of course it's not found footage' complaint - that's just suspension of disbelief in the same way I'd never believe the events of Paranormal Activity actually happened. The whole found footage aspect is just a way of saying 'things end badly'. ... More

Posted by hatebox at 11:14, 20 September 2011 | Report This Post


RE: confused as to what all the fuss is about ...

Not sure what to make of this one, enjoyed it but not as much as I hoped I would. Did think it was quite funny though, the subtle moments like Tomas' cheeky grin when the Troll Hunter and the vet have just hugged - definitely made me laugh but could have just been my sense of humour. Agree with the earlier comment about toning down the whole 'this is actual footage' angle. No one was ever going to buy into the idea that it was real, and the shaky camera got quite annoying at time... More

Posted by brucejackiejet at 09:28, 20 September 2011 | Report This Post


confused as to what all the fuss is about ...

SPOILERS AHEAD! Saw this yesterday for my birthday after hearing a lot of hype.... I mean it was OK ... but rather repetiitive ... nothing I havent seen before .... and the fact that it restricts itself so completely by pretending to be a found footage doc (which from the very outset it clearly isnt) means it falls short. There is no music for example which makes it quite a slow watch and there nothing to heighten the emotional impact of what turns ot to be a lot of driving and woodland sho... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by sillitoechris at 15:11, 19 September 2011 | Report This Post


confused as to what all the fuss is about ...

SPOILERS AHEAD! Saw this yesterday for my birthday after hearing a lot of hype.... I mean it was OK ... but rather repetiitive ... nothing I havent seen before .... and the fact that it restricts itself so completely by pretending to be a found footage doc (which from the very outset it clearly isnt) means it falls short. There is no music for example which makes it quite a slow watch and there nothing to heighten the emotional impact of what turns ot to be a lot of driving and woodland sho... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by sillitoechris at 15:06, 19 September 2011 | Report This Post


confused as to what all the fuss is about ...

SPOILERS AHEAD! Saw this yesterday for my birthday after hearing a lot of hype.... I mean it was OK ... but rather repetiitive ... nothing I havent seen before .... and the fact that it restricts itself so completely by pretending to be a found footage doc (which from the very outset it clearly isnt) means it falls short. There is no music for example which makes it quite a slow watch and there nothing to heighten the emotional impact of what turns ot to be a lot of driving and woodland sho... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by sillitoechris at 12:18, 19 September 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Troll Hunter

Empire gave this 4 stars, yes 4 stars. So on the strength of that we went to see it.. Can't honestly see why it warrants more than 2. We have a bloke who looks like Ant ( or possibly Dec) running around after another bloke with the deepest voice in cinema. Troll hunting itself may be the most exciting sport on the planet- watching it is not. Also only one laugh in the whole thing, when Ned Kelly shows up. Avoid, like the plague (or possibly rabies) ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by GCH at 08:58, 15 September 2011 | Report This Post


Loved it. Absolutely brilliant. Thank you Empire for bringing this to my film radar. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by juangaz at 00:05, 14 September 2011 | Report This Post


RE: RE:

A film only just making it's bidget back at the box office means it lost money thanks to marketing and distribution costs too, but if we don't know DVD sales there isn't much point in talking about it.  ... More

Posted by hatebox at 10:53, 13 September 2011 | Report This Post


RE: RE:

It must be applauded though for a film to try something different and not "flop" at the bo. ... More

Posted by thetruth at 08:32, 13 September 2011 | Report This Post


RE: RE:

L: adambatman82 L: Deviation I'm not sure about dvd sales but it didn't fare very well in the BO. t broke $100million at the box office alone, which was its budget. I think its biggest problem was in its lack of an international audience in terms of the awareness of the source material (and the BO split certainly backs this up). DVD figures aren't available. Ultimately though, who really cares? Spike Jonze got to mess around on a scale far bigger than I think anyone would ever ... More

Posted by Deviation at 07:54, 13 September 2011 | Report This Post


RE: RE:

Hear hear!asnt a CutThroat Island style flop,i thought it was generally well received but even better than that recognition. And the director,who´d have thought?? Back to Troll Hunter,i cringe at the US remake.I know this will be better,for all its flaws. ... More

Posted by thetruth at 01:03, 13 September 2011 | Report This Post


RE: RE:

The hunter character was interesting and a good actor,maybe with more like him it could have been better. ... More

Posted by thetruth at 01:00, 13 September 2011 | Report This Post


RE: RE:

L: Deviation I'm not sure about dvd sales but it didn't fare very well in the BO. t broke $100million at the box office alone, which was its budget. I think its biggest problem was in its lack of an international audience in terms of the awareness of the source material (and the BO split certainly backs this up). DVD figures aren't available. Ultimately though, who really cares? Spike Jonze got to mess around on a scale far bigger than I think anyone would ever have imagined, and he ... More

Posted by adambatman82 at 00:51, 13 September 2011 | Report This Post


RE: RE:

I'm not sure about dvd sales but it didn't fare very well in the BO. Also, boy, was Troll Hunter fun. It can slow down sometimes and the characters might have needed more development (hunter aside) but it is mostly a great joy to watch. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Deviation at 00:44, 13 September 2011 | Report This Post


More user comments

SPECIAL FEATURE
The 301 Greatest Movies Of All Time EMPIRE READERS' POLL: THE 301 GREATEST MOVIES OF ALL TIME
You turned out in your hundreds and thousands, and here are the results... Browse the full list


CURRENT HIGHLIGHTS
Video Interviews: The Stars And Directors Talk As Above, So Below
We talked to Perdita Weeks, Ben Feldman and company about their underground horror…

The Future Of Film: All Big Blockbusters Will Be Shot At 48 FPS
Our month-long series begins discussing the innovations that will shape cinema

Video Interviews: Chloe Grace Moretz And Jamie Blackley Talk If I Stay
The stars, director R.J. Cutler and co-star Joshua Leonard talk YA adaptations

Gillian Robespierre And Jenny Slate Talk Obvious Child
Director and star on their acclaimed rom-com

The Empire Podcast #126: Jon Hamm Talks Million Dollar Arm, Mad Men And Beards
Plus Richard Ayoade pops in to talk about directing The Double

15 Of The Weirdest TV Cameos Of All Time
From Michael Palin in Home And Away to Ian McKellen in Corrie

Updated: The 36 Best Film-Related Ice Bucket Challenges
The viral craze that won’t quit takes in some of Hollywood’s finest

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Get 6 Issues Of Empire For Only £15!

Get exclusive subscriber-only covers each month!

Subscribe today

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Get The Empire iPad Edition Today

Subscribe and save maney on annual digital subscription

Subscribe today
Buy single issues

Get 6 issues of Empire for just £15!
Get the world's greatest movie magazine delivered straight to your door! Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire iPad Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  iPad  |  Podcast  |  Magazine Contact Us  |  Empire FAQ  |  Subscribe To Empire  |  Register
© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd  |  Legal Info  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)