Day 15 of 31
Director : Andre Ovredal
Starring : Otto Jespersen Hans Morten Hansen Tomas Alf Larsen Johanna Mørck Knut Nærum Robert Stoltenberg Glenn Erland Tosterud. Norway. 1h 49m.
From the moment I saw the bold blue and yellow poster I was immediately drawn to this strangely stylised movie. Looking like a special shiny rare card from a collection of Monster In My Pocket I knew that this was going to be a different kind of film, just literally from its approach to it’s advertising techniques… yeah I’m that finely tuned.
So after being astonished by a poster alone I was thrilled to find that this is a found footage horror.. With TROLLS! I was so psyched I was nearly ready to explode.
A group of Norwegian film students who initially set out to make a documentary about bear hunting, discover a mysterious poacher who turns out to be a national hero and protects Norway from trolls. They soon befriend the tough lone wolf and embark with him on a the investigation as to why more and more trolls are escaping from their territories, and they try to understand the secret government conspiracy that has kept these secrets for years.
The film is primarily shot with handheld camera and is a collection of shots that run collectively but it has the best premise and it’s a group of silm students so therefore cameras are available at all moments, what makes the film really special is that the cast improved everything on set and surprisingly the dialogue runs true, maybe because the legend of trolls are in many aspects of Norwegian life?
The trolls are excellent, I often protest that CGI if crap for organic shapes and movements but it has been utlised to perfection here, the debut scene is remarkable, there is a rumbling in the woods, the students are dicking around and like Jurassic Park (1993) there is a faint rumbling that turns into a crescendo and BOOM giant three headed troll on the loose, and at that moment I whispered “I believe”.
Taking time out from his busy schedule Hans warm to the teens and brings them up to date with the real life of trolls, rubbishing some of the old ideas passed down through the generations like eating contests and revealing why they are actually allergic to sunlight. He’s a tough character who’s stern presence really scared the kids off to start with but he keeps this tough edge, he’s obviously a war torn warrior whose job is incredibly dangerous, but a friendship between them does strike up, and all in some breathtaking scenery, between the fjords and waterfalls, you can see how these stories of giant creatures connects with the landscape.
When it comes to Found Footage Sins this film doesn’t commit too many, it does use a known actor but it makes up for a small clip in the credits that features the PM of Norway giving a press conference and letting slip some classified information, but what really sets this film apart from other mockumentary horror is it’s ability to remain quite light hearted and is incredibly funny at times.
For the most part it’s fascinating more than horrific, there are some tight scenes that carry a lot of suspense especially when the trolls turn up, but strangely they add a mix of comedy and terror, as they are so retarded but deadly and after years of being exposed to cute troll dolls etc it’s hard to see furry big nose critters are anything other than “cute” but time and time we’re confronted with some barbaric behaviour and it’s truly shocking.
It’s definitely something quite different, edged with humor and aimed at being taken seriously it’s a great combination of shocks and laughs, and following the group it does a cracking job of keeping the pace by introducing various trolls and each with it’s own hunting problem. Crackling with energy and not falling for the continuous shaky cam there are some more professional moments in production but the amazing job on the effects of the trolls, but the acting gold star goes to the “grumpy teddybear” Hans (Otto Jespersen) whose character steers away from the stereotypical film hunter like Quint from Jaws (1975), but instead he’s quite stoic but very conscientious. Overall it feels like a higher quality found footage film that minimises mistakes and really delivers a memorable yet slightly surreal trip.
R : Cannibal Holocaust (1980), Rec (2008), The Entity (2015)
L : Found footage, Documentary Films, Selected Norwegian Films
A : Found footage, a genre to last?
5s: 5 of my favourite found footage movies