Edinburgh International Film Festival

Trollhunter (Trolljegeren) (2010)

Starring: Otto Jespersen, Glenn Erland Tosterud, Johanna Mørck, Tomas Alf Larsen

Directed by: André Øvredal

Rating: 1 2 3 4

Otto Jespersen as the eponymous Troll Hunter

If you thought found footage movies had had their day, think again. Troll Hunter, a film that does exactly what it says on the tin, is a playful Norwegian camcorder cult classic in the making, created from clips 'submitted anonymously to a film studio' showing three student film makers on the trail of a mysterious poacher in the Volda region of Norway.

As the students blunder after him, however, it quickly transpires that the tough, bearded survivalist is not a poacher at all, but a government sponsored troll hunter. And he's sick of his job (long hours, no overtime pay, too much bureaucratic form filling) and wants to lift the lid on his country's biggest secret: it's overrun with trolls.

A troll!

This is clearly a great concept for a film, blending Norwegian mythology neatly with modern horror tropes, and it's also extremely well executed: comedic but never ridiculous, tense but not terrifying, filmed on a hand-held camera but without the confusing, dizzying effect this often creates (hello, Cloverfield). The CGI is also superb: the trolls are simply delightful, lumbering straight from the pages of fairy tale onto the big screen, scratching their hairy arses and swinging their ungainly tails.

As an advertisement for Visit Norway it's also no poor show: a visual feast of still lakes, snow-capped mountains and gushing fjords (albeit shrouded in mist and rain familiar to anyone who's ever been to the Highlands), which only serves to underline the age-old link between landscape and myth.

Admittedly some of the subtleties of troll folklore were probably lost on me, but while a native Norwegian may revel in childhood legends writ large on the big screen, foreigners like me can enjoy discovering the habits of an entirely new creature: move over werewolves, there's a new monster in the woods.

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