The Best Norwegian Horror Comedy that is Actually About Wildlife Biology You Will See This Year

Troll Hunter

The movie is called Troll Hunter.

I’d seen this movie a few years ago, but re-watched it this weekend and remembered how much I like it. It’s a found-footage Scenario. Thomas, Johanna, and Kalle are three Norwegian college students attempting to film a documentary about a man they think is a bear poacher. When they follow him into the woods, however, they discover that he is after much bigger game. Trolls.

Hans, the troll hunter, is not any kind of mythic hero. He is a long-time employee of the Norwegian Wildlife Board, working in a secret office called the TSS (Troll Security Service). When trolls break out of their territories and come too close to livestock or people, he has to trap or kill them. The usual weapons are powerful ultraviolet flash bulbs (trolls, of course, turn to stone in daylight). Hans is sick of it. The hours are terrible, the work is dangerous, and he doesn’t even get overtime.

Troll Hunter is alternately beautiful, scary, and bone-dry hilarious. Many of the jokes will be especially appreciated by anyone familiar with wildlife or fisheries management. Hans, and a sympathetic veterinarian named Hilde, explain troll biology and ecology with impossibly straight faces. Like many other large predators, trolls have a long lifespan and very low fecundity. Like many people who study large predators, Hans and Hilde argue passionately that the creatures are misunderstood. Human activity, and possibly climate change, are causing unpredictable changes in troll behavior. Conflicting demands by the public and different government offices make rational troll management nearly impossible.

Troll Hunter is on Netflix. I highly recommend it.

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