I love to watch bad movies. No, not bad like Michael Bay's Transformers 2 bad, but bad like when a director THINKS he's making a good flick but just didn't have the talent or stars to pull it off BAD (Bay just doesn't give a fuck) — think Manos: Hands of Fate or Troll 2. And so, I believed, I would have a splendtacular time with Norway's Blair Witch/Cloverfield hybrid known as Troll Hunter (which, judging by its trailers I would have guessed was the cheesiest thing ever since I made a chunk of Velveeta rape a bowl of queso dip when I was drunk last night). Well, in the end I was wrong. Troll Hunter is FAR from being "so bad it's good".
Troll Hunter is actually "so good it's bad-ass," and is in fact a fun as fuck movie, despite the fact that the supernatural creatures in question all look like the big-nosed, shaggy, goofy-looking trolls from Norwegian fairy tales (you'd know them if you saw them... Hmmmm. Think of brawnier, more vicious Mystics from The Dark Crystal for a decent visual). It doesn't really take itself too seriously, but it's about twice as exciting as any of the Hollywood slasher movies that have come out in the past 10 years, and about 50,000Xs more fulfilling than Blair Witch (but so is Madea's Big Anal Blow-Out, so that isn't saying much I guess). Troll Hunter is a very simple tale with a huge back story and tons of secrets, and it's got enough imagination for like 20 shitty American horror movies. Seriously, with stuff like this and Dead Snow, Norway seems to be on its way to be the king of kick-ass monster movies in the same way that South Korea has emerged as the lord of action flicks.
Okay, I've given Troll Hunter a sloppy enough handjob already, you want to know what it's about, no? Well you should! It's only natural, and not questioning things just makes you look like a diehard liberal or a credulous conservative who just believes whatever retarded filth he's told no matter how goddamn stupid it sounds (like global warming or thinking that George W Bush wasn't a robot operated by Dick Cheney's wife). Troll Hunter is all about a trio of college kids putting together a documentary on an infamous bear poacher in the wilds of Norway. Of course it turns out that the man they're looking for in order to interview for an "A" in their filmmaking class is NOT, I repeat, NOT a bear poacher, but instead Hans (the coolest fucking gruff, outdoorsy, woodsman you've ever met) is the government's only official Troll Hunter, and the kids get caught up in his sanctioned quest when they eventually track him down one night in the middle of one of his most insane jobs ever.
At first Hans is all like "Fuck you, kids... Yer gettin' in my way. Piss off!" But soon Hans can see that there's something terribly wrong with the Trolls that he's currently after (seeing as more of the mythical beasts than he's ever come across are wreaking havoc throughout the land, destroying property, eating livestock, and just causing a naughty ruckus), and he allows the kids to continue filming him, and gives them permission to ask any question that they want. We're never really sure why Hans chooses to go against his superiors in this regard (when they find out about the filmmakers they do their best to silence them) — it could be that he's just tired as fuck about being the only person on the planet who has to hunt down the rogue creatures when they break free from their designated safe zones, or he may just want recognition — but regardless, Hans wants to let the truth get out to the public, and let the country decide for itself what to do with its double secret troll population.
Okay, so there are real, actual, giant, mean, Christian-hating (not making that up) trolls still living in Norway; the government keeps them hidden in special safe zones far from the general population; and Hans is the only fucker smart enough and tough enough to take the fuckers out when they go rogue... What else is Troll Hunter about, you whine like a pissy 3 year-old who expected a pony for her birthday but only got a dozen puppies instead? Wow... Really? Are you never impressed? This is essentially like if Hollywood made a movie about the secret American Bigfoot preserves and the crazy wilderness Clint Eastwood motherfucker who was the only guy in the world who knew how to stop them when they start going bat-shit insane... And the Bigfoots are 20 - 100 feet tall, mean, and trippin' on something that causes them to rampage. What is your goddamn problem?! What more do you want?! Well, how about death, destruction out the wazoo, and a journey from the rich forests of Norway's scenic South to the frozen tundra of the North, where danger is always a hairs width away? That do anything for you? Want to see goats and people get torn apart and devoured by these filthy trolly demons? Huh? How about watching giant monsters EXPLODE in bloody chunks caused by secret troll-hunting weapons? How would you like to feel a constant tenseness and an overall sense of dread as if the CGI terrors were more of a threat than that gay ghost-face guy in Scream, Death in Final Destination, and Jason from Friday the 13th combined? No? Really? Well fuck you then.
There are really only two things that didn't totally sell me on this movie, and they're really and truly not deal breakers. Number one: the college kids are kind of dumb. No, they're not exceptionally dumb, but they're stupid in like "Hey, we go to college! Our daddies are rich! We so smaaaarrrrt! We already know everyting!" Like we all were at that age (except me, 'cause I'm just awesome). And at least they're not totally annoying about it. Their starting-off-point stupidity is part of their character arc, and they do evolve past it, thank zombie Jesus.
Number two: the special effects, although fantastic about 85% of the time, still have some rough edges around the remaining 15%. But fuck, for a relatively low-budget Norwegian giant monster movie it's very commendable and impressive.... though that 15% still pulled me out of the majestic wonder of it when it popped up. But I'm just nitpicking now.
Sigh. Really, world? You couldn't just let Japan be the only country silly enough to make giant monster movies? And the fact that Sweden made one featuring the goofiest, ugliest, weirdest monsters I've ever seen makes me wonder if they actually understood the point of the giant monster movie. The point is to make something scary — it's really hard to be scared when you're trying not to laugh at whatever's supposed to scare you. Geez Louise! Their honkers are so big! It's like those trolls pick their noses with railroad ties!
CARLY CARLY CARL
I gotta hand it to them Norwegees, this was a pretty bad-ass monster flick! Yeah, they kept the creatures looking like something from out of their weird Grimm-like storybooks, but the way they move and act on film does make them veeery creepy. Good tone, and good SMASHING of things throughout this movie. Really, what more can a red-blooded guy want? Well, sex I suppose... But not counting that, this was pretty fucking awesome.