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Trolls—oversized, ugly and often not especially friendly humanoid beings—have been a staple of Scandinavian mythology and folklore for centuries. Yet these creatures have rarely been represented in the countries’ cinema—a situation that Norwegian writer/director André Øvredal’s THE TROLL HUNTER rectifies in a, ahem, big way.
“I read a review of the film on the web here in Norway, which included the question, ‘Why didn’t anybody think of this before?’ ” he says. “Obviously, it makes me proud and happy to read that [laughs], but it’s true. I think it has to do with the movie technology in Norway, which is a little bit behind the U.S. It would not have been possible for budget reasons to do this before.”
And yet TROLL HUNTER, which cost only $3.5 million, boasts digital monster FX that would be the envy of Hollywood features with budgets many times higher, and are especially impressive for being contained within the handheld aesthetic of a found-footage feature. The movie (debuting Stateside on VOD next month and beginning limited theatrical release June 10 from Magnolia Pictures’ Magnet Releasing) is posited as the result of a documentary excursion by college students Thomas (Glenn Erland Tosterud), Johanna (Johanna Mørck) and mostly unseen cameraman Kalle (Tomas Alf Larsen). Their goal is to get to the bottom of bear poaching taking place in a rural, mountainous region, but suspected culprit Hans (Otto Jespersen) soon proves to be after bigger quarry. His job is to track and kill the towering, forest-dwelling trolls when they get too close to human habitation, and we follow along with the young filmmakers as Hans hunts the varied beasts, reveals the tricks of his trade—and exposes them to danger even more severe than that posed by the monsters.
Øvredal forges a film with its own identity out of ingredients that might seem familiar from other recent vérité genre offerings. Yet he notes, “CLOVERFIELD opened just as I was writing the script—I love that film, I think it’s great—and [TROLL HUNTER is also] not based on BLAIR WITCH PROJECT, which I’ve only seen once, back when it came out. To me, it’s more like a mix of JURASSIC PARK, MEN IN BLACK and MAN BITES DOG, the serial-killer mockumentary. That’s kind of the world I think my film lives in. But it’s also a road movie, and I feel it’s in the style of INDIANA JONES and that kind of adventure structure. It’s a blend of all my favorite films, I guess.”
For the whole story, pick up FANGORIA #303, on sale this month. Go here for full issue details, and here to order the issue or subscribe to the magazine!
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