Written by André Øvredal & Håvard S. Johansen

Directed by André Øvredal




Otto Jespersen - Hans, trolljegeren

Glenn Erland Tosterud - Thomas

Johanna Mørck - Johanna

Tomas Alf Larsen - Kalle

Hans Morten Hansen - Finn

Production Studio:

Theatrical: Filmkameratene A/S & Film Fund FUZZ

Video: Magnolia (Magnet) U.S.



Aspect ratio: 1.78:1

Resolution: 1080p

Codec: AVC

Disc Size: BD50

Feature Size: ca. 22 GB

Bit Rate: Moderate (20-30 Mbps)

Runtime: 103 minutes

Chapters: 12



Norwegian DTS-HD MA 5.1

English (Dub) DTS-HD MA 5.1


English SDH & Spanish


Extras: (in HD)

5 Deleted Scenes (3:35)

Improv & Bloopers (2:05)

3 Extended Scenes (7:55)

Visual Effects (6:05) sans narration

7 Behind the Scenes (23:25)

Troll Sketches & Habitats (6:10) avec music

HDNet: A Look at Trollhunter (4:20)



Amaray Blu-ray case: BRD x 1

Street Date: August 23, 2011

The Movie : 7

Three college students are putting together a documentary on the mysterious killings of bears in Western Norway.  Local hunters believe this is the work of a poacher and put them on the track of Hans, a lone hunter who only works at night.  Thomas (the erstwhile newscaster), Johanna (boom mike), and Kalle (cameraman) follow Hans despite his demands to be left alone into the darkest woods until they are all set upon by - you guessed it - a giant troll.  Soon after the attack, which pretty does more damage to the student’s vehicle than it does to them, Hans allows them to follow him on his adventures.  Hans, it turns out, works for a secret government agency (TSS: Troll Security Service) whose purpose is to keep the existence of secret from the public.  (The dead bears they place in areas where trolls have stepped out of their usual habitat is just one of their rouses.)


“Trollhunter,” with nods to Rob Reiner’s “This is Spinal Tap” on the one hand and “Blair Witch Project” on another, is what we know call these days a “mockumentary.”  Its sly humor, while slanted to Scandinavians, is evident enough to us city dwellers on this side of the pond and is kept carefully at bay while all the time appearing to take itself perfectly seriously, especially the scary set pieces where the Hans and the kids take on a troll or vice-versa.  One example, of man, will give you an idea: Hans asks the students if any of them are Christians, later making it very clear that trolls are attracted to the smell of the blood of the followers of Jesus.  The question obviously makes the students uncomfortable and they’re not sure how they can diplomatically disavow themselves from the church.  Later on it is clear that one of them is lying - with the expected results.


There is another character that should not be ignored: that of Norway itself - for the film does serve as a travelogue - dreary, rugged, spacious, lonely and placid by turns.  There are a few recurrent characters - one of them, a vet (who has a few cell phone conversations with hans before making her one appearance in the film) doesn’t seem to know how to prepare a blood sample slide.  I don’t think this was meant to be funny or satirical, unlike the brilliant advisory at the end of the credits: “No trolls were harmed during the making of this movie.”


Critical Reaction:

Wikipedia provides a good summary of the Norwegian critical reviews as well as from the States: As usual, Rotten Tomatoes’s score of 79 is in keeping with popular opinion, while sharper Norwegian and American critics are more circumspect.  Like myself, the New York Times noted that the movie is "about 20 percent too long" with "more traveling shots through car windows of the fjord-land scenery than are absolutely necessary".  And among the Norwegian critics, Wikipedia notes (again like myself) Verdens Gang critic Morten Ståle Nilsen summed it up as "Better than we feared. Weaker than we could hope." Nilsen also made the comparison to The Blair Witch Project, and though he did not find The Troll Hunter brilliant or original, he predicted great commercial success for the film.  I suspect Trollhuter will become one of my guilty pleasures that I can whip out when I want to amuse friends.



Image: Variable

There is a built-in amateurish look to Trollhunter that is a good part of its appeal - keep in mind that just about the entire movie is shot by one of the students - but it won’t win any converts to high-definition.  There is quite a bit of night footage, some of which taken with a night vision “filter” (quotes mine).  Noise and horrifically bad resolution are in full swing here.  Daylight shooting is less in evidence, but those images are faultless.   A good deal of the movie is shot in inclement weather where contrast is flat, colors are dull and a light rain keeps sharpness at bay.  Trollhunter makes up for this by sprinkling in scenes in  a variety of indoor settings and the occasional sunshine.



Audio & Music: 8/x

Trollhunter’s audio quality, on the other hand, is engaging, realistic and horrific whenever it suits - and an effective mix it is.  We first get a whiff of what’s in store fifteen minutes into the film as Hans and the students are first chased out of the woods by a Ringlefinch.  There’s some pretty serious noises here: branches crushed by the screaming students, heavy breathing and those deep throated groans of the troll, which get deeper, louder and more immersive as the movie goes along.  Smartly, the only music besides those under the ending credits, comes out of a radio or jukebox.  Lest I forget, there is a competent English dub in DTS-HD MA if you enjoy things.



Extras: 6

Magnolia provides a generous number of mini-features - some 17 or 18 of them - adding up to about 54 minutes.  So you can imagine there’s very little in-depth material here.  On the other hand, I’m not sure that we’re really missing anything here save the personal touch we would find in a commentary or hosted bonus features, of which we get neither.  I thought the gallery of Troll Sketches & Habitats of Ringlefinches, Tosserlad and Rimetosser, cleverly accompanied by Grieg’s “Hall of the Mountain King,”  to be smartly done and self-explanatory without a voiceover.  Ditto this for the Visual Effects feature.  The HDNet Look at Trollhunter is little more than a thinly disguised extended trailer.  The good news is that all the bonus features are presented in lovely high definition.



Recommendation: 8

Even though the various troll designs are taken from literature and legend, I found most of them underwhelming, though what they do and what becomes of them is not.  The film has to feel like it was shot by competent amateurs which can seem a little tiring, as when a shot is deliberately made to appear clumsy when it wouldn’t have been in reality, as when the image goes out of focus during a zoom.  That pretty much can’t happen these days with auto-focus zoom. I suspect a second viewing will find me less impatient.  Image quality reflects the filmmakers’ intentions, which also wears a little thin, and I don’t expect I will get used to this as easily.  Audio is awesome.  Otto Jespersen as Hans, the Trollhunter of the title, lends the movie the necessary gravitas.  For my money he’s the only character I didn’t want to get eaten by trolls. I imagine a lot of folks will eat this movie up, provided they aren’t Christians.




Leonard Norwitz

© LensViews

August 20, 2011

Return to Top

Score CardScore_Card.htmlScore_Card.htmlshapeimage_3_link_0
About MeAbout_Me.htmlAbout_Me.htmlshapeimage_4_link_0