Found footage films have been taking America by storm as of late. It got popular with The Blair Witch Project, but then it was revised with Cloverfield, The Last Exorcism, Paranormal Activity, [REC], Diary of the Dead and so on. Pretty much every known genre or scenario has been played out in the found footage manner and I almost started to give up hope. What else could you possibly make into found footage that would be refreshing and not an excuse for dull acting and a shaky camera? Leave it to the Norwegians to answer that question with the latest found footage/mockumentary film called Troll Hunter. Something that sounded like an odd choice for a found footage film, but resulted in a very thrilling and fun ride, full of action and comedy.
Troll Hunter follows a group of students who are investigating a series of weird killings done apparently by bears. They realize that everything isn’t exactly what it seems, which results in them following a mysterious hunter. One thing leads to another and he is revealed as a troll hunter. Now we find out that he is sick of hunting these creatures and he allows the students to follow him and film everything, in hopes that he can stop this job, which keeps him up at night and always on the move.
The film is very light in the way it handles the whole troll situation, but it never clearly pokes fun at them. It’s a great way to take an old legend and modernize it. The found footage style works brilliantly because it really makes it feel like it’s the real deal. If trolls exist and someone was to film them, Troll Hunter would be the result. It follows classic troll stereotypes like them smelling Christian blood or how they turn to stone if exposed to sunlight. And while all of that sounds silly, the film backs it all up with scientific proof. A veterinarian explains the lack of vitamin D and calcification, which leads to them turning into stone.
I really liked how it managed to be light and fun, but never downright stupid or silly. They treated the whole thing with a serious tone, while still making it an adventurous film. Troll Hunter may not be poking its head in America until now, but it doesn’t feel old or stale when compared to other found footage films that have already come and gone. It’s a strong entry in the genre and I would easily put it up there with Cloverfield as being one of the best found footage films yet. For such a small budget the film looks and feels big. The CGI trolls look fantastic, full of hairy and slimy detail. The acting is good, but I can’t really decipher what bad Norwegian acting is.
I really enjoyed Troll Hunter and I think most people will. There is enough action and elements of tension and suspense to please any fans of the found footage horror craze and there is a thoughtful and often times fun story to please any fans looking for a light toned good story.
Video: Magnolia provides Troll Hunter with a near perfect replication of what the film is supposed to look like. Since the main characters are students filming on a digital camera, one is not to expect perfect clarity and contrast and the 1080p transfer remains faithful to that fact. The image is clear for the most part, with the occasional noise that especially picks up during the nighttime scenes. The colors are very natural and not that bright, which isn’t a shocker considering it takes place in Norway. The greens are dark and droopy, but it really does look good. While this may not be the sharpest or clearest transfer, it’s very serviceable and faithful to what the film was trying to achieve, visually.
Audio: I was really impressed with the 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track for Troll Hunter. It was very active and loud through most of the running time. The first part of the film is dialogue heavy, with most of the sound coming from the front channels, but once they enter the woods and start troll hunting, the back channels open up very clearly. Crushed branches, walking in dirt and any basic movement can be heard with utmost clarity. It really becomes a treat once the trolls start running around and grunting. Every channel becomes active and very loud. You literally feel like you’re standing right behind the camera man as they run from a 200 foot troll! (Troll Hunter can be heard in the original Norwegian language or in a dubbed English language. I’d recommend Norwegian with English subtitles)
Troll Hunter comes with a batch of special features, all presented in high definition.
- Deleted Scenes (HD): Five deleted scenes.
- Improv and Bloopers (HD): two short improv scenes and a blooper reel.
- Extended Scenes (HD): Three scenes extended, nothing too special here. I prefer the cut versions.
- Visual Effects (HD): A nice look at how they did the special features, with a break down on each subsection of troll.
- Behind the Scenes (HD): A decent little behind the scenes feature which contains clips of the cast and crew having what looks to be like an excellent time shooting.
- Photo Galleries (HD): Two cool galleries that show off some troll art.
- HDNet: A Look at The Troll Hunter (HD): The usual HDNet promo, featuring clips and overview of Troll Hunter.
- Also From Magnolia Home Entertainment Blu-ray (HD)
Overall, Troll Hunter is a fantastic little film that must be seen by all fans of action, horror, found footage or just damn good films! It’s incredibly fun and easy to digest. The pace keeps it moving and there is never a wasted moment. Magnolia has given the film a good video transfer that is true to look of the film as well as an extremely active audio mix that is actually kind of surprising. The audio track really does drop you right in the middle of the woods with the students and the troll hunter. You feel like you’re standing right next to them or running alongside them as they escape and help kill these troll creatures! The disc comes with a tight little package of special features that are fine for the common fan but not that detailed. I strongly recommend this to anyone looking for a fun and wild ride. I’m sure this will be great as a blind rental with a purchase to follow! Troll Hunter proves that the found footage genre is far from dead if the right story and crew can be found!
Movie – 8.5/10
Video – 8/10
Audio – 9/10
Special Features – 5/10
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