The Troll Hunter
The Troll Hunter is a 2010 Norwegian dark fantasy
Dark fantasy
Dark fantasy is a term used to describe a fantasy story with a pronounced horror element.-Overview:A strict definition for dark fantasy is difficult to pin down. Gertrude Barrows Bennett has been called "the woman who invented dark fantasy". Both Charles L...

 film, made in the form of a "found footage
Found footage (genre)
Found footage is a genre of filmmaking, especially horror, in which all or a substantial part of a film is presented as discovered film or video recordings, often left behind by missing or dead protagonists. The events onscreen are seen through the camera of one or more of the characters involved,...

" mockumentary
A mockumentary , is a type of film or television show in which fictitious events are presented in documentary format. These productions are often used to analyze or comment on current events and issues by using a fictitious setting, or to parody the documentary form itself...

. It is written and directed by André Øvredal, and features a mixed cast of relatively unknown actors and well-known Norwegian comedians, including Otto Jespersen
Otto Jespersen (comedian)
Otto Jespersen is a controversial Norwegian comedian, actor and television personality.-Biography:At the age of 19 Jespersen became a Marxist-Leninist, and was for a short period of time a member of the Communist organization Red Youth...

. The Troll Hunter received positive reviews from Norwegian critics. It opened June 10, 2011 in the U.S.


A group of students, Thomas (Glenn Erland Tosterud), Johanna (Johanna Mørck), and their camera-man Kalle (Tomas Alf Larsen), set out to make a documentary about a supposed bear poacher, Hans (Otto Jespersen
Otto Jespersen (comedian)
Otto Jespersen is a controversial Norwegian comedian, actor and television personality.-Biography:At the age of 19 Jespersen became a Marxist-Leninist, and was for a short period of time a member of the Communist organization Red Youth...

). At the site of an illegally slain bear, they interview several local hunters, who comment that the bear tracks look odd and that someone probably dumped the carcass there, as well as Finn Haugen (Hans Morten Hansen), head of the Norwegian Wildlife Board. Finn dismisses the idea that the bear tracks could have been faked. The students manage to locate Hans, and follow him through Western Norway; when they try to interview him, he tells them to go away, but they persist. As they follow him into a forest, they see flashing lights and hear roars from something larger than a bear. Hans comes running back to his vehicle, screaming "Troll!" As they flee through the woods, Thomas is attacked and bitten by a large animal. They escape in Hans’s Land Rover, and discover their own vehicle turned over with the tires mysteriously missing. As they drive out of the woods, Hans admits that he hunts not bears, but trolls. Though skeptical, the students ask if they can join Hans in his hunt and film it, and he agrees.

The next day, the students meet up with Hans, who asks if any of them believe in God or Jesus, as the trolls can detect the smell of a Christian's blood. They assure him that they are not, and they return to the same forest as the night before. Hans tells them to slather themselves with troll 'scent' made from "everything you can squeeze out of a troll". Hans wields a “flash gun,” a weapon that emits powerful UV rays to simulate sunlight and turn trolls to stone, though he comments that sometimes the trolls “just explode.” Though the students begin to suspect that Hans is playing an elaborate prank on them, they are stunned when Hans successfully flushes out a giant three-headed troll, which chases after them. They return to Hans' Land Rover, where they see him use a large UV lamp to turn the troll to stone. As Hans destroys the petrified troll, Finn arrives with a team of Polish bear trappers who deposit a bear carcass and plants fake tracks to keep up the ruse that bears are responsible for a string of mysterious deaths and livestock mutilations in the area. Finn objects to Hans allowing the hunt to be filmed and angrily tells the students that they will not be allowed to keep their tapes.

In a series of interviews Hans reveals that he and Finn actually work for the Troll Security Service (TSS), which hired him to help keep trolls a secret and to kill any that leave their territory and come near populated areas. He explains that there a number of varieties of troll, and that the one he killed the previous night was a Tosserlad and therefore could not be the same one that bit Thomas and which Hans has been seeking, a Ringlefinch. The trolls are acting aggressively and have begun to leave their territories more often than usual, and Hans must get a blood sample from the Ringlefinch to try and help determine why.
The students accompany Hans on another hunt and, using live goats on a bridge and the blood of a Christian man as bait, Hans successfully attains a blood sample from the Ringlefinch troll, before blowing it up with his UV gun. Hans takes the blood to a veterinarian who works for the TSS, but finds that it will take several days before any results can be found. Thomas interviews her and learns that the trolls’ adverse reaction to sunlight is due to their inability to convert Vitamin D into calcium, which causes their bodies to overreact.

Hans and the students continue to search for the cause of the unusual troll movements, investigating a farm where a number of trees have been inexplicably uprooted, though the government tells the locals that a tornado is the cause. Hans and the film crew come back at night and enter the woods, where they find troll tracks leading into an abandoned mine. Despite protests from Kalle, they enter the mine and discover the lair of a pack of Mountain King trolls. The trolls return unexpectedly, trapping the group inside. Kalle, in a panic, admits that he is a Christian. The trolls catch his scent and kill him, while the others escape with the now broken camera.

Hans, Thomas and Johanna return to Hans’s trailer to find Finn searching for the tapes. Finn demands that Hans head north to troll territory to get the problem under control. Hans agrees despite expressing fear of entering troll territory. He reveals to Thomas and Johanna that some years ago he was forced to massacre an entire troll population in that area, and does not like to go there. The group sets off with a new camera-woman and begins finding signs of a Jotnar, a giant mountain troll, 200 meters tall. Hans takes them deep inside troll territory, where Thomas begins to fall ill just as the Jotnar appears. A phone call from the veterinarian reveals that the blood from the Ringlefinch came back positive for rabies. It is likely that a rabies epidemic among the trolls is causing the unusual and aggressive behavior, and that Thomas has been infected by the bite received several days earlier.

Hans lures the troll away and attempts to kill it with the UV lamp on his Land Rover, but the battery dies and the vehicle is destroyed. He directs the others how to find the highway before walking up to the enraged troll, delivering the finishing blow with his light gun and walking off into the sunrise. As the others hike out of troll territory, Finn and several government agents arrive to confiscate the students’ tapes. Thomas flees with the camera and is seen collapsing at the side of a road when the tape cuts out. Just before the cut to black a truck is seen stopping next to the camera, presumably the driver is the person who "found the footage". An epilogue tells the audience that none of the students were heard from again and directs viewers to contact the police with any information they might have regarding their fate. The film ends with a real news clip of the Norwegian prime minister inadvertently admitting to the existence of trolls, though the press fails to take notice.


  • Otto Jespersen
    Otto Jespersen (comedian)
    Otto Jespersen is a controversial Norwegian comedian, actor and television personality.-Biography:At the age of 19 Jespersen became a Marxist-Leninist, and was for a short period of time a member of the Communist organization Red Youth...

     as Hans the trollhunter, a member of the Troll Security Service
  • Hans Morten Hansen
    Hans Morten Hansen
    Hans Morten Hansen is a Norwegian stand-up comedian, notable for holding the world record for longest stand-up performance since August 20, 2010.- Career :...

     as Finn
  • Tomas Alf Larsen as Kalle
  • Johanna Mørck (Robin De Lano, voice) as Johanna
  • Knut Nærum
    Knut Nærum
    Knut Nærum , is a Norwegian comedian, author, comics writer and TV-entertainer. He is best known for being one of the permanent panelists in the Norwegian show Nytt på nytt...

     as Power company manager
  • Robert Stoltenberg
    Robert Stoltenberg
    Robert Stoltenberg is a Norwegian actor and comedian known for his various impressions in different comedy series. He had a great success with the television series Borettslaget, being both the creator of the series, and playing several of the main characters.-Life and career:Stoltenberg grew up...

     as Polsk Bearhunter
  • Glenn Erland Tosterud as Thomas
  • Urmila Berg-Domaas as Malica


Filming took place in the forests and mountains of Western Norway, and actress Johanna Mørck called it an exhausting experience. According to director André Øvredal, the team tried to maintain maximum secrecy around the project. They kept both the title and cast secret until shortly before the première; instead dropping cryptic teasers to create a viral
Viral marketing
Viral marketing, viral advertising, or marketing buzz are buzzwords referring to marketing techniques that use pre-existing social networks to produce increases in brand awareness or to achieve other marketing objectives through self-replicating viral processes, analogous to the spread of viruses...


Producers Sveinung Golimo and John M. Jacobsen reported great international attention around the film. Already before the première, several American companies had expressed interest in doing a remake. Golimo and Jacobsen's production company were also responsible for the highly successful 2008 film Max Manus
Max Manus (film)
Max Manus is a Norwegian 2008 biographic war film based on the real events of the life of resistance fighter Max Manus . The story follows Manus from the Winter War against the Soviet Union, through the outbreak of World War II and the German occupation of Norway until peacetime in 1945...



Dagbladet is Norway's second largest tabloid newspaper, and the third largest newspaper overall with a circulation of 105,255 copies in 2009, 18,128 papers less than in 2008. The editor in chief is Lars Helle....

s Inger Merete Hobbelstad gave the film four points
Dice throw (review)
The "dice throw" is a method of review which is often used in Norway and occasionally in Sweden. It is characterized by the use of a white-on-red die graphic to represent the movie's rating in the review, in contrast to the stars or letters used elsewhere....

 out of six, and compared it to The Blair Witch Project
The Blair Witch Project
The Blair Witch Project is a 1999 American horror film pieced together from amateur footage. The film was produced by the Haxan Films production company. The film relates the story of three student filmmakers The Blair Witch Project is a 1999 American horror film pieced together from amateur...

. She complained that the dramaturgy
Dramaturgy is the art of dramatic composition and the representation of the main elements of drama on the stage. Dramaturgy is a distinct practice separate from play writing and directing, although a single individual may perform any combination of the three. Some dramatists combine writing and...

 could be better at times. The special effects she found to be of variable quality, though certain scenes were "amazing". She also highlighted Jespersen's performance as essential to the film's success. The film received four points out of six in the newspapers Klassekampen
Klassekampen is a Norwegian daily newspaper, which styles itself as "the daily left-wing newspaper".Klassekampen was founded in 1969 with a Marxist-Leninist-Maoist platform. Until recently, it was owned by The Workers' Communist Party...

and Verdens Gang
Verdens Gang
Verdens Gang , generally known under the abbreviation VG, is a Norwegian tabloid newspaper...

as well. Verdens Gang critic Morten Ståle Nilsen summed it up as "Better than we feared. Weaker than we could hope." Nilsen also made the comparison to The Blair Witch Project, and though he did not find The Troll Hunter brilliant or original, he predicted great commercial success for the film. Like Hobbelstad he appreciated Jespersen's effort.

The most favorable review from the major national newspapers was written by Mode Steinkjer in Dagsavisen
Dagsavisen is a daily newspaper published in Oslo, Norway. The former party organ of the Norwegian Labour Party, the ties loosened over time from 1975 to 1999, and it is now fully independent...

, where the film received five out of six points. He commended Øvredal's ability to combine "subtle humor with physical tension", and also commented on the "striking naturalness" displayed by Tosterud, Larsen and Mørck as the three students. Kjersti Nipen, on the other hand, reviewing the film for Aftenposten
Aftenposten is Norway's largest newspaper. It retook this position in 2010, taking it from the tabloid Verdens Gang which had been the largest newspaper for several decades. It is based in Oslo. The morning edition, which is distributed across all of Norway, had a circulation of 250,179 in 2007...

, gave the movie only three points out of six. She called it "flat, predictable and rather devoid of content". Although she regarded it as funny at times, she found the use of the mockumentary format exhausted and overused. The review in Morgenbladet
Morgenbladet is a Norwegian weekly newspaper. It was founded in 1819 by the book printer Niels Wulfsberg, and was the country's first daily newspaper. For a long time, it was also the country's biggest newspaper. It was closed down by the German Wehrmacht during World War II...

was not favourable either.

The most favorable review in Norway came from NRK, the Norwegian Broadcasting Company; Birger Vestmo gave the film six out of six points, and wrote that “a new Norwegian classic is born." He also applauded the film for combining Norwegian cultural elements with Hollywood cinematic flair.

Among American reviews, Mike Hale of The New York Times
The New York Times
The New York Times is an American daily newspaper founded and continuously published in New York City since 1851. The New York Times has won 106 Pulitzer Prizes, the most of any news organization...

called it a "clever and engaging mock documentary" with "ultradry Nordic humor", though "about 20 percent too long" with "more traveling shots through car windows of the fjord
Geologically, a fjord is a long, narrow inlet with steep sides or cliffs, created in a valley carved by glacial activity.-Formation:A fjord is formed when a glacier cuts a U-shaped valley by abrasion of the surrounding bedrock. Glacial melting is accompanied by rebound of Earth's crust as the ice...

-land scenery than are absolutely necessary". The special effects, while "created with a computer-graphics budget that we can assume was far short of the Hollywood standard, are surprisingly lifelike and frightening." Frank Lovece
Frank Lovece
Frank Lovece is an American journalist, author, comedy performer and comic book writer. He was additionally one of the first professional Web journalists, becoming an editor of a Silicon Alley start-up in 1996....

 of Film Journal International
Film Journal International
Film Journal International is a motion-picture industry trade magazine published by the American company Prometheus Global Media. It is a sister publication of Adweek, Billboard, The Hollywood Reporter, and other periodicals....

praised star Jespersen for "what ought to be a star-making dramatic performance", and found the film "both a remarkably suspenseful voyage ... and a dry-witted commentary on the nature of expedient bureaucracy.... Part horror movie, part social satire, and bursting with Norway’s savage beauty ... [i]t is destined to be a classic of its kind." V. A. Musetto of the New York Post
New York Post
The New York Post is the 13th-oldest newspaper published in the United States and is generally acknowledged as the oldest to have been published continuously as a daily, although – as is the case with most other papers – its publication has been periodically interrupted by labor actions...

gave it three stars out of four and cautioned, "You'll want to catch this clever movie before Hollywood ruins everything with a dumb remake." British writer Ross Miller of Blog Critics gave it 4.5 stars out of 5 and said, "Troll Hunter takes what is now a conventional style of found footage filmmaking and puts a unique stamp on it... one of the best examples of this type of film so far."

On review aggregate website Rotten Tomatoes
Rotten Tomatoes
Rotten Tomatoes is a website devoted to reviews, information, and news of films—widely known as a film review aggregator. Its name derives from the cliché of audiences throwing tomatoes and other vegetables at a poor stage performance...

, The Troll Hunter currently holds an 82% 'Fresh' rating.


The day the film opened in the United States, announced that director Chris Columbus
Chris Columbus (filmmaker)
Christopher Joseph "Chris" Columbus is an American film director, producer and screenwriter. Columbus had his largest success with the first two films in the Harry Potter series, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, along with Home Alone, the last...

's company, 1492, along with CJ Entertainment & Media had acquired remake rights to the film.

External links

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