'Trollhunter' (PG-13)

 

On the search for 200-foot tall monsters, cinema verite style.

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By Stephen Rea, The Philadelphia Inquirer

The Norwegian Tourist Board should be happy about Trollhunter, a verité-style travelogue that takes the viewer for an inspiring trip around misty fjords, o’er snowy fields, across crystalline lakes and beneath wide, cloud-scudded Scandinavian skies.

If only there wasn’t that lumbering bearded dude yelling “TROLL!” all the time.

Like The Blair Witch Project and a host of other pseudo-docs, André Øvredal’s enjoyably goofy scare-pic purports to offer real footage of real horror — in this case, a variety of forest and mountain trolls, some with three heads, another almost 200 feet high, thumping through the Norwegian woods, laying waste to everything in their path.

The trio of intrepid college students armed with mikes, lights, and camera — Thomas (Glenn Erland Tosterud), Johanna (Johanna Mørck), and Kalle (Tomas Alf Larsen) — start out in search of a bear poacher, planning to file a simple TV news report. And they find the guy: a mysterious man with a beat-up Land Rover and an old trailer that emits a mighty stink. But a half-hour into Trollhunter, the reality of what this gent is up to hits the three friends as they dog Hans (Otto Jespersen) through a dark stand of firs and — uh-oh — “TROLL!”

Before the movie is done with, the truth about these fairy-tale creatures — they gnaw on trees and truck tires, can be turned to stone by exposure to light and have a grudge against people who believe in Christ — is revealed. So is a vast government cover-up. Unfortunately, several goats and a motor vehicle or two get consumed in the process, Thomas contracts a worrying ailment and lots of stuff explodes.

But oh my, the sight of those frost-dusted hills in the gray light before dawn — it’s breathtaking, even if there is a giant furry monster obstructing a good portion of the view.

Cast: Tomas Alf Larsen, Otto Jespersen, Glenn Erland Tosterud, Hans Morten Hansen, Knut Naerum, Johanna Morck, Robert Stoltenberg.

Director: Andre Ovredal.

Screenwriters: Andre Ovredal, Havard S. Johansen.

Producers: Sveinung Golimo, John M. Jacobsen.

 Running time: 90 minutes. In Norwegian with English subtitles. Playing in Miami-Dade only: O Cinema.

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