Review: The Troll Hunter by Jamie

A short one today because I’m feeling a little under the weather.

Norway is a country that I know very little about so let’s just get into the review. The Troll Hunter (Trolljegeren in it’s native tongue) is a Norwegian film shot in the found footage documentary style. It follows the story of three college film makers as they try and make a documentary about a possible bear poacher, Hans, operating in Norway. Initially the man is resistant to there attempts to interview him but they follow him into the forest at night where they are attacked by something and one of the film makers is bitten. After the attack Hans relents and allows them to film him and his work as a Troll Hunter and explains that yes, trolls exist and they are kept in check and kept secret by a shady government organisation. Recently they have been leaving there territory and getting closer to human settlements meaning his work load has increased substantially lately. He destroys the trolls by using bursts of simulated sunlight which enough of can cause the trolls to turn to stone or explode. They then go on several hunts with him, discovering the true nature of trolls and trying to figure out the mystery of why they are venturing outside of their territory.

First of I want to say that this film is pretty goddamn awesome. It manages to be quite tense at times but really quite funny at others. I can’t really remark on the quality of the acting because it’s always hard to gauge when people are talking in a foreign language but it seemed as though everyone was doing a pretty good job.

The special effects of the trolls are generally pretty good but there were times when they did seem very fake, particularly when the first troll on screen and the stone troll it became. There is a band of smaller trolls later on that looked very good and the biggest troll you see is also exceptionally sweet.

There was one other major problem that I had with the film. They seemed to go out of their way to try as hard as they could to make the trolls seem as scientifically viable as possible. They state that the reason that trolls turn to stone or explode when exposed to sunlight is due to an inability to process calcium which causes them to calcify (Ok, maybe not that scientific but they’re doing the best with what they have). There is one trait that the trolls possess which seems impossible to explain away with even pseudoscience and that is their apparent ability to detect Christians by their smell. It just doesn’t make sense and I’m sure it comes from old legends from the area but they discounted other legends claiming that the trolls were essentially long lived, large mammals and didn’t possess substantial intelligence so why not just dispell the Christian smelling myth as well? As far as I can tell it was for a certain part of the story which is understandable but it just seems to not make sense within the context of the reality the film is trying to establish.

Still overall it was a pretty enjoyable film and a pretty nice addition to the admittedly overburdened found footage genre. Three and a half pints out of five.

Zombie Month: Dead Snow by Jamie

Still a bit under the weather so bear with me and that.

Recently Britain has been blanketed by that thing that all British people fear the most. No, I’m not talking about foreign types, I’m talking about snow. Seriously, this country just cannot handle snow. If the Nazis had attacked with snow instead of planes during the battle of Britain, we’d all be talking German right now.

Speaking of Nazis, there’s this film out called ‘Dead Snow’ which is about Zombified versions of them. See, Nazis and snow. It all comes together. That’s the film we’re going to be looking at today so it comes even more altogether. What a jolly time is being had by all.

A Norwegian film, Dead Snow was released in 2009 and follows the adventures of a bunch of medical students as they head out into the mountains in order to take a break from their studies during the Easter holiday. To be honest, the characters are pretty shallow. One really likes movies and there’s another one who’s afraid of blood. Oh, and I think one of them is kind of a hippy chick. She’s going out with fear of blood dude. They’re supposed to be meeting another guy’s girlfriend there but it’s shown that she won’t be arriving at the cabin due to Zombies.

A crusty old man shows up at the cabin and invites himself in for some coffee. Then he insults the coffee. That’s about the time that I’d tell he can fuck off but for some reason the students give him a beer instead and he tells them about the history of the area. Seems that the area played host to a bunch of Nazis during World War 2, Nazis who would beat on and torture the local people because… well, they were Nazis. Towards the end of the war, when it was pretty obvious Germany was fucked, the Nazis looted all the valuables from the town. This pissed some of the locals off and they rebelled against them. Those who survived the uprising escaped into the moment where it was assumed they froze to death.

Anyway, the group find a box hidden in the cabin filled with valuables. Soon the Zombie Nazis (or is it Nazi Zombies?) are upon them. The rest of the film kinda plays out as you’d expect. Zombies attack people, Zombies kill people, people kill Zombies. There are a few surprises, in particular a couple of characters who I really didn’t expect to die but for the most part it’s your standard young-people-in-the-woods horror film.

The movie even acknowledges this. As they are heading towards the cabin, the characters lose mobile phone reception and a discussion immediately starts about just how many horror movies start with people going to the woods and losing their mobile phone reception. There are also many, many visual references including ‘Shaun of the Dead’ and most obviously the Evil Dead series which is always fun to see.

One thing I will say for this film is that it is fucking gory. There are entrails and blood splattered all over everything. I generally have a pretty strong stomach when it comes to gore but there was some stuff in here that had me turning my head away from the screen, in particular something involving intestines and a tree. Ugh… Fucking hell…

Overall, it’s a fun enough film. It manages to be quite funny as well as gory, though it never really manages to be scary. It’s a nice little film to just throw on and watch if you don’t wanna think too much… though subtitles do make it a little difficult to just veg out completely. I will say that towards the end, I did find myself losing interest a little bit but when all’s said and done it’s a nice little distraction. Three and a half pints out of five. Laterz

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