Prior seeing this movie, I had a conversation with my Dad in regard to its content. It went a little something like this.
ME: I'm going to see a film about a dude who hunts trolls.
DAD: That sounds retarded.
ME: It's Norwegian.
DAD: Oh, well it'll probably be great then.
I think this Quantifies almost every critical response to this movie. The Troll Hunter came out a week behind Apollo 18. Both use the found footage format and both push it to the most fantastical in terms of subject matter and style. Both are more Cloverfield than Blair Witch, which to me is where the the genre is at least effective. Once you incorporate show-boating, glutenous CGI into proceedings, the illusion of faux-realism is just emphatically broken for me. And watching Troll Hunter, this very much like an effects driven enterprise, the camera lingers maybe a little too long on what it wants to show off, just like it did in Cloverfield, and the whole concept feels way too goofy. If the goal here has to be make everything feel real, then you can't get away with this kind of super-broad corny genre writing. In which nobody has never heard of the super-giant, super visible monsters that wonder the landscape just because.
I wouldn't have cared about this in a straight up movie, but if you are going to jump on the found footage train then you can't ignore its rules, and pick and choose in regards to how closely you want to be realistic, it's simply not going to work all that well. The Troll Hunter should have just been a regular movie, because its strengths have nothing to do with the format, and its weaknesses have everything to do with the format. The characters and the performances are for the most part quite strong, particularly Otto Jespersen is the titular hunter. But something about the trolls and the way this movie is written just keeps everything too wacky and everyone is too unaffected by what is going on to ever really ratchet up tension.
I don't want to come of like too much of a hater here, this is a good time and a serviceable and surprisingly tame monster movie, but the found footage genre is specific, there are things you can do and things you can't to really capitalize on it's potential and to be honest I think this film is only made this way for budgetary reasons, and that dissatisfaction shows. and I think much of the praise it has gotten is because of that same knee-jerk intellectual reaction that makes people think something is automatically better because it's in another language. Because the movie I saw was way to naff and broad to ever be as intense or involving as it wants to be. Then again by rights it should be much worse, and I like I said it is pretty enjoyable genre fare, it's just so much worse for being in a genre it doesn't belong.