Troll Hunter (2010): Not Just For Dispatching Internet Nuisances Anymore
Thomas, Kalle, and Johanna (Glenn Erland Tosterud, Tomas Alf Larsen, Johanna Morck) are a team of documentary film makers who think they have a lead on a string of mysterious bear killings. They track down Hans (Otto Jespersen), a hunter they believe is poaching the bears, but they soon learn that Hans has a more mysterious secret. He's a troll hunter dispatched by the Norwegian government to control rampaging trolls responsible for killing cattle and tourists, destroying property, and cause earthquakes. Agreeing to let the film crew follow him as long as they follow his every direction (and as long as they aren't believers in God and Jesus. Trolls can smell that kind of thing), they journey across the Norway to hunt down the trolls. As they get deeper into the country, Hans begins to believe something is happening to the trolls, and whatever it is will endanger them all.
New Zealand's giant bug); the trolls look like natural residents. The fact that the film works in Scandinavian folklore such as Three Billy Goats Gruff only serve to enhance the cultural ties and add a layer of winking realism.
When she is introduced she's asked if she was a Christian and believed in God and Jesus, and she replies that she is a Muslim. The Troll Hunter shrugs it off saying he doesn't know what might happen. Part of the tenets of Islam is the belief in Jesus as a messenger of God and certainly Muslims believe in an all powerful god, Allah. It is unclear why this inconsistency was included or if it was meant to refer to cultural differences between Norwegians and Muslims, Norway's fastest growing minority group. Nothing else ever comes of the character being Muslim, but I feel like that dialog was intentionally placed but it's unclear what writer/director Ovredal was trying to say. Of course,Troll Hunter also seems to be stridently anti-Christian as well. The one Christian character ends up getting dispatched messily and Hans lures in the trolls with Gospel music and the spuriously obtained blood of a Christian man. Clearly Ovredal is no big fan of organized religion, but he also revels in the legends and lore of Norway's early years. All I know is that, as an Atheist, if trolls invade, I'm going to church. Not to get religion, but to appear as a lesser snack.
The fact that the film's message remains a bit hazy is actually fine. Troll Hunter works best as a fantasy romp, and getting bogged down in possible cultural minutia only diminishes the amount of fun this film is. It's definitely a film I will go back to time and time again, and it's one that I can't wait to share with friends. Troll Hunter is one of my favorite films I've seen in some time. It's on Netflix Instant Watch right now. So take the time to make it one of yours.