"No Trolls Were Harmed During the Making of This Movie"
What You Need To Know:
TROLLHUNTER is droll, funny, scary, and silly all at the same time, with superb special effects. Hans, the title character, comes across as very heroic. On the negative side, there’s some strong foul language in TROLLHUNTER. Also, the parts about trolls going after Christian blood are given a funny tone. This lends the movie an edgy, ironic quality, but this element can be taken negatively or positively. Or, maybe it’s just part of the goofy silliness that takes up so much of the admittedly entertaining TROLLHUNTER.
(B, H, Ab, FR, LL, M) Light moral, heroic worldview with two or three humanist comments about not believing in God, Jesus, Christianity, or religion, one minor Muslim character and one reference to her faith; 19 mostly light obscenities (mostly “h” words and a few “s” and “d” words), two strong profanities and three light profanities, plus people swab on “troll” stench and trolls in cave pass gas, which causes people hiding in cave to wrinkle their noses for comic effect; strong, sometimes scary violence includes giant trolls chase people, troll wounds one person, trolls take and kill another person (only victim’s screams are heard), troll roughly bats armored man against bridge railing and knocks him unconscious for a while, troll’s body explodes but nothing really graphic is shown because event occurs at night, giant troll’s body turns to stone, another really giant troll’s body breaks apart after turning to stone, and non-graphic images of two bear carcasses; no sex; no nudity; brief alcohol use; brief smoking; and, government secrecy, and it is said that mean and stupid trolls can smell the blood of a Christian person so troll hunter demands no one believe in God or Jesus if they want to accompany him as he goes out and kills wayward trolls by flashing bright lights at them but one person lies about not being a Christian and eventually gets killed by three trolls.
TROLLHUNTER is a droll, funny, striking, well-produced monster movie from Norway, but it has some edgy content demanding strong caution. The story has, however, been bought by Chris Columbus (HOME ALONE and the first two HARRY POTTER flicks), who wants to make an American version.
The story in the Norwegian movie begins in Norway’s majestic fjord country, where three film students from a local college are following a strange, mysterious hunter named Hans. They think Hans is an unlicensed poacher who’s shooting bears, and they want to expose him.
As they follow Hans and his Land Rover into the woods, however, they quickly learn that Hans is actually trying to kill wayward trolls who are almost as tall as a pine tree. Equipped with very bright lights, Hans shines his lights on the trolls and they turn to stone. Sometimes, however, they actually explode. As the movie later explains, it’s all due to the trolls’ inability to process Vitamin D from the sun into calcium.
The film students, Thomas, Johanna and Kalle, also discover that Hans is part of a secret government agency, the Troll Security Service or TSS. The TSS uses Hans to kill any woodland or mountain troll that strays into human areas or that kills livestock. If a troll turns to stone, Hans breaks up the body, and, if livestock have been killed, another group of people arrive with the carcass of a dead bear to convince people that it was the bear who killed the other animals or people.
Hans has become tired of all the secrecy, so, against the orders of his boss, he lets the students film him as he goes about killing trolls and filling out the standard “Slayed Troll Form” for the government. Before he does, however, he makes sure none of the students believe in God or Jesus, because, according to Norwegian legend, trolls can smell Christian blood. The students watch as Hans slays an angry three-headed troll and a vicious troll under a bridge. For the bridge troll, who may be suffering from a mystery disease, Hans is ordered to get a blood sample. So, for that job, Hans dons a makeshift suit of armor and gets viciously knocked about before he’s able to deliver the killing lights. The whole incident is funny, silly and scary all at the same time.
[POSSIBLE SPOILERS] Eventually, the mystery disease is identified. It gives Hans and the students the reason why so many angry trolls are suddenly entering human areas. Hans figures out the source of the disease is a giant “Jotnar” troll in the arctic section of Norway. The problem is, Thomas was bitten by one of the other infected trolls. Can Hans kill the Jotnar troll, protect the students and get Thomas to the hospital in time?
Largely improvised according to the production notes, TROLLHUNTER is shot entirely by the three fictional film students as they follow Hans. A brief prologue and epilogue tells how the fictional footage has been brought to the public. As noted above, the movie is droll, funny, scary, and silly all at the same time. The special effects are superb. Also, Hans, the title character, comes across as a very heroic fellow who tries to protect the students from the mean trolls.
On the negative side, in addition to the scary parts in TROLLHUNTER, there’s some strong foul language. The movie also could be cut a little shorter. In addition, the parts about trolls going after Christian blood are given a funny tone, which gives the movie an edgy quality. At one point, Hans plays “What a Friend We Have in Jesus” to distract one troll from the vulnerable students. [SPOILER] Moreover, one of the students also turns out to be a Christian, and the student gets killed. The student’s replacement says she’s a Muslim, and Hans thinks that fact may provide an interesting experiment. This ironic approach to Norwegian myths about trolls is not necessarily Anti-Christian or anti-religion, but it’s not necessarily pro either. However, it does show that the evil and stupidity the trolls clearly represent is opposed to Christianity, so this ironic content could be taken in a positive light. Or, maybe it’s just part of the goofy silliness that seems to be so much a part of this admittedly entertaining movie. As usual, MOVIEGUIDE® advises the reader to make the final call.