An Interesting Film That Makes Folklore Monsters Feel Real
Trollhunter is a Norwegian dark fantasy film made in found footage format released in 2010. Around this time, high concept found footage films were becoming popular around the world. Trollhunter takes the concept of found footage and builds an interesting world around its premise.
The film can be viewed currently on Amazon Prime with a subscription and is a definite must watch for its impressive effects and for maintaining its premise even though it’s made like other mockumentaries.
The Heroes that Face the Beasts
The characters of the film are three journalism students. The main presenter is named Thomas, Kalle is in charge of the camera, and the sound girl is Johana. Like most found footage films, most of the cast are unknown actors who only appeared for that project. The actors portrayed their characters very well as audience surrogates.
Hans the troll hunter, is portrayed by Otto Jespersen, a Norwegian comedian infamous for certain controversies. His portrayal of the apathetic, solely professional, monster hunter adds to the realistic world building element in the film. As the troll expert, he exposes their traits, abilities, and behaviors.
Bringing Fantasy Trolls into the Real World
Trollhunter takes the myths, tales, and folklore of trolls and applies them to modern realism. This means that certain aspects of trolls are given some real world explanation. One example of this is when one troll has three heads – two of the heads are fake and are apparently display structures for other trolls.
A second example is why they turn to stone, which comes down to them being calcified by overexposure to sunlight or UV lights. Trolls are managed by the Troll Security Service and there’s an impressive amount of detail in establishing the rules and paperwork Hans goes through with each successful hunt.
The Artistic Inspirations of Trollhunter
The designs for the trolls featured throughout Trollhunter are all inspired by the folktale art illustrations done by John Bauer and Theodor Kittelsen. The key elements they all share are the bulbous noses, shaggy hair, having a scruffy tail, and being an interesting mix of comical to intimidating.
Folklore art and concepts of the trolls were used to stick a consistent appearance for the types. There is a separation of troll types – the mountain trolls and the forest trolls. Despite their goofy folklore based appearance, the trolls were still portrayed to be very dangerous and hungry for anything in their territory.
How Well Does the Film Sell its Premise?
Found footage, when done haphazardly, tends to lose where it counts, the ability to ground viewers into the world it’s trying to make. What makes Trollhunter one of the better found footage movies released is that it plays its premise seriously and straight.
A lot of the ways this film grounds the setting includes filming on site and creating props and set designs to fit the scenes. Han’s car is full of sketches, troll hunting tools, and even parts of trolls for camouflage. Even the side characters with one scene can portray whether they’re oblivious to the trolls or are a part of the organization with Hans.
In short, Trollhunter executed its premise and setting incredibly well. The CGI is complemented with the realistic lighting and the funny elements of the film didn’t take away from the tense and scary moments. Because the trolls can only function at night or dark caves it’s an opportunity for tense moments where the trolls hide out of sight.
Trollhunter did well to include different aspects of Norwegian culture and folk tales and modernizing them. Trolls weren’t brought to life in this fashion before and Trollhunter was considered a resurgence for them in popular media. The upcoming Netflix exclusive titled Troll based much of their troll designs and portrayals to Trollhunter.
Trollhunter (2010) Official Trailer
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|An enthusiast of Fantasy and Sci-Fi. I loved reading about the stories and worlds of video games and movies and writing on a multitude of subjects, from lists to reviews.|