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The Hell Plaza Oktoberfest V

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Adam Jahnke - Main Page

Trollhunter (DVD)

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Trollhunter
2010 (2011) - Magnet/Magnolia
Released on DVD on October 18th, 2011
Also available on Blu-ray Disc

You know, I've grown to kind of hate The Blair Witch Project. Not so much the movie itself. I haven't seen it since it first came out and don't have particularly strong feelings about it one way or the other. But after it made a zillion dollars, every moron with a camcorder decided they could make their own found-footage horror movie. When it works, you can get something kind of cool and fun like Cloverfield. But when it doesn't, which is more often than not, it's just an excuse for bad camerawork and amateurish acting.

Fortunately, Norwegian filmmaker André Øvredal does not appear to be a moron. Trollhunter, his entry into the found footage sweepstakes, is a surprisingly enjoyable twist on the monster movie. The setup is simple yet effective.


Three students are making a documentary about bear poaching in Norway. They track down a suspected poacher named Hans (Otto Jespersen). Following him into the woods one night, they discover he's after much bigger game: trolls. Turns out that Hans belongs to a covert government agency responsible for keeping the existence of trolls a secret and killing those that stray outside of their territory.

Øvredal takes this goof-ball premise and treats it seriously but not too seriously. He clearly put some thought into the potential reality of these fairy tale creatures and approaches them like very large, very old animals. The pseudo-science holds just enough water that you buy the fact that Norway has a troll-control problem. Jespersen is a lot of fun as the grizzled trollhunter and, unlike in some other movies of this ilk, the students aren't shrieky idiots. They're smart, cynical until given proof, and thoroughly believable. As for the beasts themselves, they're rendered in fairly decent CGI. They may not be the best visual effects you'll ever see but at least you do actually get to see something, which was definitely not the case with Blair Witch.

Magnolia has released Trollhunter on both Blu-ray and DVD. The video quality on the DVD is pretty good, limited obviously by the mockumentary style although some of the Norwegian landscapes are lovely. The 5.1 Dolby Digital sound is fine and well-balanced. Extras include a handful of deleted and extended scenes along with some improv and bloopers. The behind-the-scenes featurette is fun and the visual effects and photo galleries give a quick glimpse at the creation of the trolls. There's also a short PR piece from HDNet included.

After reviewing Troll 2 for last year's Oktoberfest, you can probably understand why I wasn't exactly chomping at the bit to watch another troll picture. But Trollhunter defies expectations and emerges as a clever, funny, thoroughly entertaining monster movie. It may be the best troll movie ever made. Considering its competition, though, that may be the faintest praise ever given.

Film Rating: B
Disc Ratings (Video/Audio/Extras): B/B+/B-


Adam Jahnke
ajahnke@thedigitalbits.com


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