October 23rd, 2014

Bad Luck Bosch

Don't Assume the Fairies Have Been Dealt With

What if the monsters lurking in the distant shadow in shaky camera footage, wandering unexpectedly into focus in green hues of night vision, were the bulbous nosed, oofish trolls of an old children's book? A familiar creature of folklore and fairy tales. 2010's Trollhunter portrays a modern Norway where various forms of trolls inhabit the countryside. Not Internet trolls, but big hairy beasts, some with three heads, who live in caves and under bridges, eat rocks, and might turn to stone in sunlight. It's a good movie, part good hearted parody of the found footage genre and part sincere fantasy horror adventure.

The film consists entirely of footage taken by a small group of university students who began shooting a documentary on bear poaching but find themselves accompanying a state employed Trollhunter named Hans played by Otto Jespersen.

Apparently Jespersen is a well known comedian in Norway but he plays Hans completely straight, a world-weary man who denies being a hero because what he does is "too dirty", a man with a deep voice who towers over the young students.

The government wants to keep the existence of trolls a secret but Hans brings the kids along despite the protests of Finn (Hans Morten Hansen), head of the Norwegian Wildlife Board, who we see stamping fake bear prints into the ground around Hans' latest kills.

Hans is tired of keeping the secret--he tells the kids he's rebelling because his pay sucks and he never gets any vacation but we later sense Hans is a little sick of playing exterminator. He recounts a period decades earlier when he had to slaughter young trolls to make way for land development.

But the movie thankfully never provides any sympathetic "good" troll and just as thankfully never becomes sappy.