Found Footage; the sub-genre that both thrills and disappoints, is everywhere in today's horror scene. By that we mean everyone with a camcorder and a half-baked idea is out there shooting cheap, cinema verite excuses for horror films.
Some work. Most don't.
One of the first, and most likely the most famous Found Footage flicks is The Blair Witch Project. In 1999, this low budget hand held camera flick about 3 friends who head off into the woods to uncover the legend of the Blair Witch, took the world by storm, insofar as a movie can do. Its budget is said to be a small as $20,000, and as large as $750,000... let's just split the difference and call it $500k, for the sake of argument. That's a pretty small budget for a movie that went on to make around $250 million at the worldwide box office. Those are insane numbers.
Love it or hate it, the movie was a fresh and effective break from the horror norm; it was advertised and marketed as real, and it apparently felt real enough with audiences that it struck quite a chord with them. We personally loved it, though it was flawed. For us, we got sucked up into its story, and the minimalist approach to its scares had us freaked.
|Not real, but it was fun to pretend it was.|
Since then, many a horror flick has tried to recapture its magic, more often than not failing to do so. We've seen FF/POV flicks about aliens, dinosaurs, monsters, zombies, serial killers, and dozens upon dozens about hauntings/ghosts/and paranormal hi-jinks.
Many of these flicks end up falling short of TBWP, simply because the audience knows whats coming now. The ones that do manage to be good, tend to create an effective atmosphere, and offer us a fresh story with characters we like. The Troll Hunter is one of those good ones.
Trolljegeren is a Norwegian FF movie about a group of college students who set out to make a documentary about a guy that hunts bears, only to find that he actually hunts trolls. Trolls are apparently a big problem (and an even bigger secret) in Norway, and the Nord Government does everything they can to keep the beasts away from populated areas.
What makes this movie so great, aside from it's different premise and awesome monsters, is the minutiae; the trolls can smell the blood of Christians, UV rays turn them to stone, and sometimes they catch rabies... little plot elements like that keep this movie fun and interesting from start to finish.
In contrast to Blair Witch, Troll Hunter cost $19 million or so to make, and has only made about $5 million at the box office. Of course a lot of that has to do with the fact that a Norwegian language film probably doesn't get the worldwide distribution that an English language film does, which is really criminal.
Troll Hunter is a great movie, and deserves to be a worldwide hit. Movies like that are exactly why we're here; people like us need to spread the word about good movies like this. If we loved it, there's now way that tons of other people wouldn't too, if only they knew it existed.
So, if you're looking for a new genre flick to entertain you, you don't subtitles, and you're a fan of the FF genre, then grab a copy of Trolljegeren on BLU or DVD. Both great flicks, but The Blair Witch already has enough of your money... so why not give the trolls a chance.