Middling Norwegian Kaiju Film Troll (2022) Makes for Enjoyable Ride
First Non-Festival Release: December 1, 2022 (Digital/Streaming Platforms)
Director: Roar Uthaug
Writer: Espen Aukan, Roar Uthaug
Runtime: 101 Minutes
Starring: Ine Marie Wilmann, Kim Falck, Mads Sjøgård Pettersen
Where to Watch: Check out where to find it here
Adults tell children fairy tales for many purposes. Some stories are designed to enforce positive behavior, others to avoid negative consequences. Sometimes, parents tell stories that touch close to the truth of the world. This is true, however fantastical it seems, in the universe of Troll.
Growing up on wild tales of impossible creatures, Troll stars Nora (Ine Marie Wilmann), a paleontologist who is urgently contacted by the Norwegian government for a top-secret project. When she arrives at headquarters, she is informed of an impossible sight: a moving mountain that has decimated everything in its path. After narrowing it down, Nora knows that only one possibility remains: Norway is being attacked by a giant troll.
Technically sound Norwegian kaiju movie Troll goes through the motions of giant monster mayhem.
A strong cold open, gives the audience an idea of just what they are getting into by sitting down to watch Troll. The audience is clued into several things in this sequence. One, which is the most obvious, that the premise of the movie is hidden underneath the lore of a children’s mythology. Two, the importance of a father daughter relationship will be present throughout the DNA of the script. Lastly, that everything that happens in the first five minutes are confirmed by an excellent visual cue exposing the trolls as real entities. Unfortunately, everything goes down the mountain after this.
Derivative of other big monster movies, Troll differentiates itself solely on the lore behind its titular beastie. Playing out like every kaiju movie before it, Troll doesn’t get much deeper in story than the similar beats audiences already know. News of the monster is kept on the downlow until it is impossible to contain, experts are ignored when asked for their opinion, many attempts to neutralize the threat fail, and the main character faces conflict about the plight of the beasts due to their unbridled empathy. The fairytales behind Troll, however, are interesting enough to make these beats tolerable. tories of Norwegians tricking the reigning population into defeat and chasing them out of their territory rings of genocide that feels especially relevant today.
While its story falls flat, Troll shines in its bombastic action sequences that keep up the pace of the silly feature. Effective camerawork keeps the film going even when the plot stalls. Moving from one chase sequence to the next, Nora and her team manage to squeak past death in the most cinematic of ways. Death defying car maneuvers and aerial heists keep the crew from being flattened without growing old. Despite the static nature of the titular monster’s modus operandi, Troll manages to find fun ways to put the good citizens of Norway in danger. One sequence involving a young boy at an amusement park is both tense and a sweet callback to its central lore.
Strong special effects work and cinematography aid Troll in captivating the audience while building its fantastical world. The creature effects are insanely life-like, making the mineral-based beast look particularly tactile and menacing. Its towering nature and anthropomorphic face, however, sometimes act at odds with each other. When it is utilized for scares, it can be terrifying. Other times, it looks silly as it twitches in anger or fear, lurching its way towards the capitol.
Troll isn’t meant to win any Oscars but that doesn’t stop it from being a passable use of Netflix’s streaming budget. Its dynamic cinematography and strong special effects work allow this direct to streaming action horror hybrid to pack enough punch to warrant a passive viewing experience. The story may fall flat, and the character beats feel awkward, but that doesn’t take away from the unique lore and fun set pieces that the film explores. Roar Uthaug’s track record may be spotty since his debut film Cold Prey, but Troll is a middling project that is fun enough if not taken too seriously. Trust me that there is no trolling in declaring this a light piece of popcorn horror that is best consume without using too much brainpower.
Overall Score? 6/10