About me

I've been writing stories for years. I think I'm a good writer and I'm willing to bet you'll feel the same way. So here they are. Enjoy them, comment on them, tell your friends about'em, reblog them, retweet them, reread them. I have four stories in my archive so far:
"One day on the Mountain", a story of Lycanthropy, a father, and a son.
"The Boy", a story of a very ambitious and sociopathic fifth grade boy.
"The Easy Girl, A story of infidelity and unpaid sexual debts. This story is very dark.
"Brick The Mighty", a story of an aging superhero.
Although this is primarily a blog of horror, I also write about things that are important to me. I have more stories tucked away; they just need editing. There's even a few novels. There will be more to come.
PS. Feel free to leave a comment. I love comments.

Friday, 10 February 2012

Review: 'Trollhunter'



It’s to the point that every other movie I see is a found-footage movie. Just make a regular movie already; one that isn’t partially improvised and cobbled together from eight hours of found footage. 

Trollhunter, a movie directed by Norse director André Øvredal, is yet another found-footage movie. Three students are investigating a possible bear poaching (because apparently bears are serious business in Norway) and get on the trail of a possible poacher. They follow this dour and taciturn man as he inexplicably places tires around the countryside, stays out all night, and lurks in his strange camping trailer that is outfitted with enough UV lamps to light up a Lady Gaga world tour. 

They follow him into the woods one night and the viewer makes several discoveries, which I’ll list in ascending order of importance: 1. There are many, many trolls in Norway. 2. The government knows and Hans, the supposed bear poacher, is actually a troll hunter for a covert government agency. 3. Otto Jerspersen, the actor portraying Hans, is a popular Norse comedian. Actually, I discovered this when I looked him up.

Hans, as grim, quiet and bearded as a depressed and divorced career scientist, wants the young film crew to follow him around: his job is dangerous, has no benefits, no overtime, no overnight pay, and no hazard pay. He wants them to expose the Troll Security Service to the public and hopefully improve his own lot. As they investigate a spike in troll misbehavior, they drive around the austerely beautiful Norse countryside (rain, cleanliness, enormous mountains and waterfalls everywhere), he lectures them on troll species classification, eating habits, gestation, and vulnerabilities. While he repeatedly says the old fairytale stories do not apply, trolls can smell the blood of Christians and turn to stone when exposed to sunlight.

The trolls are amazing: comically ugly, with the hunched walk and comically enormous noses from fairytale lore. The special sound effect go beyond the caricatures: the trolls mutter and almost speak with fabulous monstrous rumbling noises, and at one point, while the cast hides in a cavenook to escape a family of trolls who have come in to sleep for the day, one troll lets out a long and deafening fart that almost suffocates the film crew. The acting (particularly from Jespersen, although I cannot see how he could ever be funny) is wonderful and the humour deadpan in a uniquely nordic way. 

But the inconsistencies are rife and ruin an otherwise wonderful movie: the peevish troll bureaucrats that follow the crew around are portrayed as chronically underfunded grunts who couldn’t direct a funeral, but they become suddenly sinister when it suits the plot. Northern European governments are simply not frightening; they’re too fair, too benign. Even in the Stieg Larsen books, the government bad guys are hopeless bunglers.  The camera plays across a row of power lines, and Hans explains that they just look like power lines; they are in reality an electric fence to keep in a 200-foot mountain troll called a Jotnar. How can massive, violent, highly odorous creatures be kept secret from the public? And isn’t it lazy to simply film a series of electric pylons and and call it something else? 

You will still like this movie, despite its plot issues, and its sudden and hurried ending. The climax, a battle with the Jotnar seen on the poster, is amazing, and you will be awed by this creature that is the size of a mountain. It’s still a good horror film. 


8 comments:

  1. I looked this up and see that it's actually The Troll Hunter.

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    1. Both versions are used on different sites, but the official website is trollhunterfilm.com, and the Norwegian title is Trolljegeren. So I would say Trollhunter is the correct title.

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  2. This is so unrelated, but have you ever seen the original version of The Last House on the Left? Just wondering what you thought of it.

    A few months ago I heard of a Canadian film called Gutterballs and it was compared to it. I've not see Gutterballs but plan to get it. You can read about it and see the trailer here, http://www.tlavideo.com/cult-gutterballs/p-274295-7

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  3. I have seen it, but it was a long time ago (the actor who played the lead bad guy died recently). It's a gritty classic, one of many really unrestrained movies like the Texas Chainsaw Massacre. I recall liking it.

    As for Gutterball, call me unpatriotic but it looks like a stinker. Most modern horror movies are. I can't stand Hostel or Saw; they're not honest and they're too busy being cool and iconic. For the real think you need to look to Korea. You want an absolute balls-to-the-wall violence fest that's done with artistry? See 'I saw The Devil'. It'll blow you away.

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    1. PS. I feel really bad about judging Gutterball, as it was shot here, over the Fraser river in raunchy old Surrey, BC.

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  4. I have The Last House on the Left and like it, I'm a bit ashamed to admit. I first saw it around 1987/88 at a friend's house and never forgot the title. I don't like the remake at all.

    Yes, Gutterballs looks like a piece of crap and it's for that reason I'll own it.

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  5. I think I saw this on Netflix instant, and while I would've normally passed it over, now it is definitely on my list.

    And yes, Northern European governments are a bunch of pansies. They should have set it in the good ol' U.S. of A., where our government has traditionally been cinematically viewed as a bunch of ruthless assholes.

    Definitely strange casting for a comedian. Like putting Jerry Seinfeld in a serious role. But hell, if Robin Williams can do it, why not?

    Paul D. Dail
    www.pauldail.com- A horror writer's not necessarily horrific blog

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    1. The casting of a comedian wasn't odd; it was the idea that he was a comedian at all. A foreigner might get the idea that Norse comedians stare murderously at the audience and lecture them.

      As for the setting, trolls are far too European a monster to really set in the US, unfortunately. And these things looked straight out of the old children's books.

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