Troll review | Like Godzilla, but make it Scandinavian

In Roar Uthaug's Troll, a long-dormant creature awakens and starts wreaking havoc on its way to Oslo. Read our review. 



In Troll, a long-dormant creature awakens and starts wreaking havoc on its way to Oslo. A paleontologist has to rely on her estranged father to provide answers in battling this mythical creature. Read our review. 

2010’s Trollhunter has become a small cult hit. The story of a small film crew following a real-life trollhunter around Norway’s cinematic landscapes made for a really gripping film and it was fun as hell. 

While Netflix’s Troll has nothing to do with the above film, they share a lot of DNA. Obviously, they’re both about trolls after all. Trolls are distinctively Norwegian creatures. Said to have been formed of rocks, trolls mostly roam at night, turning into stone in sunlight. Of course, no such things exist. Right? 

In Netflix’s Troll, paleontologist Nora learns that they do indeed. Her father firmly believed trolls existed, but his beliefs eventually got him fired from his job and made him retreat to a small cabin in the middle of nowhere. 

troll nora

Credit: Netflix

When the building of a new railway awakens something gigantic inside a mountain, Nora is called in to help determine what it is and how to kill it. Nora as well as the gruff military captain and the Prime Minister’s adviser have to soon accept that they are indeed dealing with a troll and it’s about to destroy the city of Oslo. 

Norway has somehow become the go-to place for simple, effective disaster films. As well as the already mentioned Trollhunter, Norway has also given us films like The Wave, The Quake and The Tunnel. It seems that they have the perfect formula: unleash some natural disaster on the innocent everyman and watch them fight for their freedom as Mother Nature does its thing. 

While Troll doesn’t involve a natural disaster per se, it does continue Norway’s interest in nature and how we are slowly ruining it and most importantly, how we should fear its power. Protesters have grouped outside the mountain where the railway is being built; they chant “Let the mountain live!” as workers blow it to pieces and accidentally awaken something. 

Trolls are both natural and unnatural. These mystical creatures are the closest metaphor you get to nature; they’re made of rocks and moss and have the power to destroy everything in their way. Troll is not a subtle film, but it doesn’t have to be. No one presses play on the film for the environmental message, they want to see a giant troll destroy things. 

troll tobias

Credit: Netflix

Thankfully and somewhat surprisingly, Troll has excellent CGI. The troll itself is brought to life very well. It looks believable enough and its movements look pretty natural. Troll is sometimes a little too conservative with the amount of death and destruction the troll brings, but it’s all staged well and enough is implied to satisfy the audience. 

This is partly due to the solid direction by Roar Uthaug. Uthaug also directed The Wave as well as the new(est) version of Tomb Raider, starring Alicia Vikander. With Troll, there’s no pressure for Uthaug to fit into a certain mold or franchise, but he also shows admirable restraint and control. Sometimes too much so; Troll could have been so much more violent, wilder and overall, just bigger. The emotional beats work relatively well, even if they’re deeply ridiculous, but the film needed a tiny bit more pizzazz. 

If anything bogs down Troll, it’s the over-reliance on its influences. There are nods to other, arguably better films; Jurassic Park, Independence Day, Kong: Skull Island and King Kong all get obvious references. They all make Troll feel like a collection of nods with no identity of its own. 

With winning performances from Ine Marie Wilmann as Nora and Gard B. Eidsvold as Nora’s father, Tobias, Troll is still a winner. It does exactly what it promises and with plenty of flair. It looks far better than this year’s Marvel offerings and follows Moonfall as one of this year’s silliest, but best disaster films. 

Troll is streaming on Netflix on 1 December. 

Leave a Reply

More like this