November 27, 2011 -- I don't know who started the trend of “found footage” fake documentary films, but I suspect it was “The Blair Witch Project.” That led to “Cloverfield,” which led to this Norwegian film about a student camera and sound crew that sets out to hunt trolls in rural Norway, and is never heard from again, but their video survives them, naturally. The reason nobody knows about the existence of trolls? A government conspiracy to keep it secret, of course. This is probably a joke, but even if it isn't, it's still funny.
The film begins with obligatory titles explaining how this film was found, is unedited and has been verified as factual. It ends with the obligatory subtitles explaining how the students who filmed this have gone missing and the government denies any knowledge of the existence of trolls, except for one funny inadvertent slip-up at a news conference, which is shown in the film. There is one tiny bit of troll footage after the credits roll.
College students are on the trail of a man, Hans (Otto Jespersen) who they think is illegally hunting bears. They follow him into a remote mountain forested area and discover he is actually hunting trolls. Although his mission is secret, Hans is tired of his job and agrees to allow the students to tag along with him and film these elusive creatures, some of which are gigantic, 200 feet tall. The students begin to learn about trolls and how the government has been covering up their existence. There is are pseudoscientific explanations of how it is that trolls turn to stone, or explode, when exposed to sunlight. There is no scientific explanation about why trolls are attracted to the scent of Christians.
The students are excited to follow Hans on his nightly hunts, even though it is very dangerous work. There are a number of poorly-lit scenes of Hans and the students running through a forest trying to escape the trolls. Like “Cloverfield,” this film is not entirely a low-budget affair. The trolls themselves aren't always made by people walking around in troll suits. Sometimes more sophisticated special effects are used. And the bit about this not being edited. Not true, it was.
The story makes little sense, so it works better as a sort of comedy. The government's attempts at keeping the existence of trolls a secret are comical, consisting of underpaid, incompetent employees depositing non-native bears as scapegoats, and using phony-looking equipment to make fake bear tracks. Power company employees express no curiosity about a high-tension power line which runs in a circle instead of going somewhere (to fence in large trolls). Government agents who are supposed to keep the trolls a secret allow the students to film and don't try to stop them, or confiscate their film. No reason is given as to why the existence of trolls is kept secret in the first place. It makes no sense.
The film works well enough as a kind of tongue-in-cheek comedy spoofing films of this kind and the sheer idiocy of these kinds of conspiracy theories. There are some decent action scenes, and the special effects are not bad. This film rates a B.
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