Monster movies are such a fun genre of film, especially when it comes to Kaiju films (which I am very much a sucker for). So when I saw the trailer for Troll during Netflix Geeked Week I just knew I had to get my hands on this film to review.
Directed by Roar Uthaug, the Norwegian film tells the tale of a mining company unleashing an ancient beast after blasting a tunnel through the heart of a mountain. Free from its bondage after long dormant sleep, the monster now makes its way to the country’s capital, destroying everything in its path. The only hope for Norway, and the world, falls on the shoulders of Professor Nora Tidemann (Ine Marie Wilmann) a paleontologist whose father raised her on the fairytales of their ancestors.
Troll as a Netflix movie is so incredibly entertaining, with the backdrop of the Norwegian mountain range for visuals, added with the mythology, it all culminates into a brilliant, intriguing film that’s a great addition to the Kaiju movie pantheon. While the film doesn’t particularly move the needle forward in the genre it belongs to, what it needs to at the core of everything it does very well.
With any large monster movie, you always need that tether to humanity, and that comes in the form of Nora (Wilmann), Andreas (Kim Falck), and Captain Kris Holm (Mads Sjøgård Pettersen) who are individually tasked by the government to investigate a mining incident and the subsequent earthquakes in the area. Each actor clocked in a somewhat decent performance and other than Falck, there was nothing uniquely compelling there either. It’s not to say the performances were bad by any stretch of the imagination, but whether through the script itself no one particularly imposed themselves in the role. Other than perhaps Falck who had some of the better lines and really leaned into his part of breaking the moments of tension with comedy. Through timing, tone, and facial reactions, he tends to steal those scenes and the humor lands quite nicely.
While the acting is subdued, the cinematography, the special effects, and the lore that props up the plot are the really enthralling parts of Troll. In fact on the latter, I really wished that Uthaug would have lent into that so much more. As far as Kaiju films go, the very essence, the draw of the story itself is the monster itself. Whether it was through a lack of budget or creative vision, the mythology is crying out for more screen time and I would have loved to see them use some local animation to illustrate those few moments of exposition. Those few sequences we did get were very tantalizing however and left me craving more.
The special effects on the monster itself were fantastic and highly impressive. As the film progresses and the troll itself has been revealed, it definitely gets plenty of screen time and a few different sequences of action. The detail, movement, and audio of the beast are of very good quality. The violence is rather minimal given the topic, and that’s likely going to be an element looking back that the film could have explored deeper to extract more intensity from the threat of the villain. The location that was used in Dovre, Norway, and the surrounding mountain range was spectacular and they really leveraged it to their advantage when pairing the troll with its environment and just adding that component of scale and enormity.
Where the film struggles is in its comparison to other large monster movies and how it differentiates itself from its peers. If you’re you’re a fan of this genre then you’re probably incredibly familiar with the layout and will likely see where the ending of the film will land. Troll doesn’t really add anything new when you strip the narrative down to its raw film of what you expect from any Kaiju-inspired film. It follows a pretty established pattern throughout. For some viewers, this level of predictability will likely drain the intensity from the story.
In the end, I enjoyed the hell out of Troll. The film is a large-scale, big-time monster movie that will leave you thoroughly entertained. While it certainly had room for improvement, the debut Netflix film fully grabbed my attention and now all I want is a sequel or a series of connected films from this studio. With a perfect run time, some superb visuals, and a throughline of some brilliant mythology, Troll deserves to be watched.
Troll will be available exclusively on Netflix Thursday, December 1st.
- Rating - 7.5/107.5/10
I enjoyed the hell out of Troll. The film is a large-scale, big-time monster movie that will leave you thoroughly entertained. While it certainly had room for improvement, the debut Netflix film fully grabbed my attention and now all I want is a sequel or a series of connected films from this studio. With a perfect run time, some superb visuals, and a throughline of some brilliant mythology, Troll deserves to be watched.