Yet another faux-verité action-horror effort that manages to be clever without being actually terrifying or thrilling, Trollhunter offers up the tale – culled from “found footage” – of three student filmmakers who, while investigating a series of strange bear killings in Norway, discover that the true cause of these incidents is the country’s suddenly out-of-control troll population. This revelation comes courtesy of troll hunter Hans (Otto Jespersen), a former Navy Ranger who works for the government keeping the creatures’ existence secret from the population at large. Amusingly driven by worker’s-comp gripes, Hans allows the kids to tag along to document his work, which confirms the veracity of legend: the beasts hate sunlight, can be turned to stone or exploded via exposure to UV rays, and are adept at picking up the scent of Christian blood. Writer/director André Øvredal expertly fleshes out the details of his scenario, so that controversial power-line grids are actually electric-fence enclosures to corral the trolls, and the trolls – who are mammals – have a specific medical reason for being averse to the sun. Trollhunter, however, rarely manages to elicit more than a respectful grin, given that its humans-fleeing-through-the-night centerpieces, all employing mockumentary shaky-cam, are lacking in momentum, suspense or horror. Meanwhile, the trolls themselves – giant, furry, bulbous-nosed beasts prone to growling and yelling – prove more intimidating in theory than reality, especially after Øvredal reveals their penchant for noxious farting.
2011 Tribeca Film Festival