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The cold wilderness of Norway is a beautiful landscape of rolling hills and giant mountains. It has a large diversity of fauna, and among the sheets of white snow and rocky caves, is a frightening species that can scare and marvel even the most well versed movie fanatic, and for once, it isn’t the Norwegian film industry.

Troll Hunter is a rather unknown gem from Norwegian director André Øvredal, who in the style of a ‘found-footage’ mock documentary weaves an interesting and unique tale of ancient folklore with modern twist. It combines the elements of movies like The Blair Witch Project and Cloverfield, mixing shaky camera movements and seemingly amateur production. Although this is merely a deceptive tool in the story telling, as some of the effects used are rather stunning considering their severely limited budget compared to Hollywood productions.

When three college students on a trip to film a documentary over poached bears, they manage to run into the supposed bear poacher, a man named Hans. After following him through the woods, they catch him in his work, although what he hunts is far more grizzly than the average bear. He is a troll Hunter, and the three college students, Thomas, Johanna, and their cameraman Kalle, end up following him on his mission to prevent the trolls from leaving their habitat into populated areas. They do encounter resistance, such as Finn, a man from the Troll Security Agency, who follows the group at every turn.

The acting here is surprisingly top notch for relatively unknown Norwegian actors. Hans, played by Otto Jesperson, carries the aura of a man who has invested a lifetime into the dangerous profession. Where the college students Thomas (Glenn Erland Tosterud), Johanna (The aptly named Johanna Mørck) and Kalle (Tomas Alf Larsen) react as any young student would (rather fearfully and exuding disbelief in the existence of the towering trolls), Hans treats the situation coldly and professionally. It is the best acting most people can say they’ve seen in a mockumentary. One scene stands out especially, where the characters are trapped inside a troll’s cave. As the tall creatures stumble and smell their way through the dark, wet stone walls, the shaking fear and desperation is astounding, and possibly the best acting in the entire movie.

The movie holds a strong appreciation for Old Norwegian folklore, and from the mentions of bridge trolls to a scientific explanation as to why they turn to stone in sunlight, this film is proud of the matter it upholds. It plays like a modern day twist on an old fairy tale, with a much-needed insertion of humanity.

Overall, the movie is one of the best things you would not want to see. It is a hard sell to convince someone to watch a foreign film shot on a three million dollar budget about hunting Norwegian trolls, but if you manage to sit down, however begrudgingly, to watch this voyage into a land usually unknown to most cinematic viewers, it is a experience worth enjoying, and a story worth being excited for, even if it falls short at times with unnecessary plot lines.

Rating: 75/100

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