Troll Synopsis: Deep inside the mountain of Dovre, something gigantic awakens after being trapped for a thousand years. Destroying everything in its path, the creature is fast approaching the capital of Norway. But how do you stop something you thought only existed in Norwegian folklore?
Ancient folklore comes to life when a mystical creature begins to wreak havoc across Norway in Troll. As someone who grew up intoxicated by the epic scale of big-budget B-movies, the modern marketplace leaves something to be desired. Campy genre films like Moonfall receive little attention compared to the high-flying heroics of superheroes, which leaves streaming as the last resort for shlock entertainment.
Fortunately, Netflix's latest international production, Troll, gleefully delivers the goods. What the film lacks in narrative innovations, Troll readily makes up for in its evocative craft and sincere intentions.
If anything, Troll stands tall as a spotlight for director Roar Uthaug's immense abilities. Uthaug, who found success with The Wave and 2018's underrated Tomb Raider reboot, is a natural extension of the Roland Emmerich/Michael Bay era of filmmakers. With his long-awaited passion project, Uthaug utilizes his adoration for Norwegian folklore as an effective canvas for creating a blockbuster bursting with immersive scale and heart-pounding sequences.
Uthaug works brilliantly with cinematographer Jallo Faber in creating a grand event film on a shoestring budget. The duo wisely utilizes wide shots to convey the immensity of their larger-than-life subject as he stomps through the Norway countryside. As for the central Troll, Uthaug and his technical team deserve ample praise for their textured design work. Every rocky crease and expressive detail helps the troll imprint a dynamic presence even without dialogue. The infusion of creative flourishes, like well-timed slow-mo shots, also injects excitement into the frenzied action onscreen.
From a narrative perspective, Troll is efficient enough. Uthaug and screenwriter Espen Aukan envision your typical genre movie formula as the characters piece together a solution for the troll's sudden arrival. Troll features a familiar gamut of goofy side characters, stirring speeches, and contrived devices. While these elements and a general lack of personality limit Troll's creative ceiling, the film possess enough self-awareness to move things along at an economical pace. A charismatic leading performance from Ine Marie Wilmann as a confident paleontologist also helps provide a sturdy dramatic center for the narrative.
Watching Troll is like engulfing a cherished comfort food meal. The film's lack of nutritional value is frankly irrelevant compared to the charming spectacle Uthaug and company cultivate. I'll be rooting for Uthaug's next production to get a chance to shine on the big screen.
Troll is now playing on Netflix.