Trollhunter: Diving Into Norway’s Troll Folklore and Culture

Trollhunter is definitely something else in terms of what we know of found footage films. Who knew that there would be such a film out there about a group of students that decided to film a bear-poacher-revealed-troll-hunter? One would think from the first few minutes that this would either go the serious route concerning environmentalists, or the thriller route wherein something would go wrong in their misadventures. But the movie throws these expectations out of the window and gives us a story we never thought we wanted—namely, about Norwegian trolls.

One of the things that stood out to me was how each actor brought their own flare to the story. Thomas, their front man, is sometimes too curious for his own good and is the regular “eager beaver”. Johanna, who was skeptical for the most part, represented the superego in our heads that tell us these mystical creatures aren’t real. Hans, who could be considered the star of the show, juxtaposes the students as he answers all of their questions seriously and in a rugged fashion. Perhaps there is just something intriguing when it comes to finding out about closed off characters, and finding the humanity in them. Throughout the story, we get to learn that he used to be in the navy, and that he is barely compensated or recognized for risking his life for his job.

The film also made me appreciate the beauty and culture of Norway. Instead of learning about their landscapes and folklore from a boring informational tour, we get instead to learn them through the different dialogues the characters have, the scenic shots as they hunt trolls, and the authenticity and detail that they put into making the trolls believable. There were some facts that I found interesting that Hans would bring up, such as that their heads grow after they’re born, they like to eat concrete and charcoal, and even smell Christian blood. The most fascinating one was when the veterinarian was explaining to the students that with the use of the flash gun, it turns trolls into stone, as they can’t turn Vitamin D into calcium and their bodies overreact. They even put into some morality in them, saying that it’s quite traumatic for these trolls even just for a little while.

Overall, it was an entertaining, although draggy at parts, way to be introduced to Norway’s culture and lifestyle. We got to learn that most of them are actually non-practicing Christians in the film, although it seems like it is in passing. It also makes a reference to farmers and their problems with predators eating their livestock, or when power lines are needed to pass through wild life because of their regulations. All these easter eggs, cultural references, and stories add up to a very Norwegian kind of movie, but also enjoyable by outsiders because of the Hollywood-type elements as well. It is not meant to be confined by one genre, because ultimately, it should be allowed to portray the personality and mystery of Norway and its people and all of its facets—even if they are about something as seemingly absurd as trolls.

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