When it comes to monster flicks, no one does them quite like Hollywood. Probably the one that put monsters on the map was 1933’s classic King Kong, with its iconic scene of the beast atop the Empire State building in New York, with Ann, played by Fay Wray, in his hand.
Since then audiences have been transfixed by these big budget, larger than life creatures terrorising us on the big screen.
But although it seems that Hollywood has a monopoly on the monster business, there have been sightings discovered elsewhere around the globe, such as this one, which takes place in Norway.
Deep in the Norwegian mountains of Dovre, industrious machines are working hard to mine its resources. It’s not exactly a delicate procedure, especially with the use of explosives.
It appears their use has attracted the attention of a resident of the mountain, a figure that many thought lived in folklore, a troll, but this one seems very much alive.
His appearance instantly gets the attention of the Norwegian Prime Minister, who reaches out to specialists in times of need like this. But who do you call when a troll rocks up on your doorstep? Well, in this instance, palaeontologist Nora Tidemann (Ine Marie Wilmann), who was brought up to believe in such fairy tales by her father Tobias (Gard B. Eidsvold).
But can Nora really help stop this huge mythical creature in its tracks?
Norwegian director Roar Uthaug knows his way around a Hollywood blockbuster, having previously helmed 2018’s reboot Tomb Raider. So it’s no surprise that he took what he learnt there and implemented here. The surprise is however is how impressively he’s managed to do so, creating what feels to all intent and purposes a proper Hollywood monster flick in Norway.
It ticks all the required boxes of the genre, including a highly believable looking monster, as well as a protagonist keen to protect him as best she can.
But in doing so, it also ticks a supplementary box of having a completely formulaic plot, one that we most definitely have seen many, many times before.
The thing is though, with Uthaug’s stylish presentation, the film’s seen-it-all before storyline can almost be forgiven. Think of it more as the fondest of homages.
It may have been done before, but this Norwegian film, with no doubt the kind of budget that would just about take care of the catering for a Hollywood studio flick, comes with all the whistles and bells – literally, at one point – you would associate with a US blockbuster.
It also has a lot of charm, with some fun interplay between some of the characters, especially Kim Falck’s Andreas, advisor to the PM, who has what sounds like an interesting premise for a book, that he’s happy to tell one and all about.
It may be generic, but let’s face it, Trolls haven’t had much time in the spotlight, and exploring European mythology always makes a nice change.
It may not bring anything new to the monster table, but for a relatively small Norwegian film – albeit made with the big bucks of Netflix - Troll is wonderfully entertaining and quite simply rocks.