Hunting for Trolls

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WE may think of trolls as those ugly hairy comical figures you see in souvenir shops but an abundance of folklore and myths surrounds them in Nordic countries, some of it quite sinister.

And there’s nothing very cuddly about the creatures who turn up in Norwegian comedy horror Troll Hunter (Cert 15).

Writer-director Andre Ovredal manages to come up with a droll variation on the familiar mockumentary device first seen in The Blair Witch Project and continued with the likes of REC and Paranormal Activity.

A trio of college film students hear of disturbances to the landscapes in the forests and mountains of Norway which the government dismisses as being caused by overactive bears but local hunters are sceptical.

In an attempt to sniff out the truth they decide to go on the trail of a reclusive poacher, Hans (Otto Jespersen), but he gruffly rejects their overtures at first. The persistent and foolhardy trio - hyperactive presenter Thomas (Glenn Erland Tosterud), largely unseen cameraman Kalle (Tomas Alf Larsen) and sound operator Johanna (Johanna Morck) - are undeterred and follow him deep into the woods – and stumble straight into the path of the beasts he is pursuing.

Hans – now revealed as a government-employed troll hunter – agrees to allow the camera to keep rolling because, it turns out, he has become disillusioned with risking his life to deal with these ferocious monsters and wants to expose the government conspiracy.

In truth the story begins to flag towards the end and though the creatures are convincing enough thanks to CGI effects, Troll Hunter is not as scary as it might be striving to be and it is more to be appreciated for its off-beat humour and spectacular locations. .

The new Jane Eyre (Cert PG), elegantly adapted for the screen by Moira Buffini, opens with Charlotte Bronte’s heroine fleeing Thornfield Hall, where she has been employed as governess for Adele Varens, the young ward of Edward Rochester. Stumbling across the moors, she seeks refuge with clergyman St John Rivers and his sisters Diana and Mary.

As Jane recuperates, she recalls her childhood with her cruel aunt Mrs Reed and as a pupil at Lowood charity school, run by the sadistic Mr Brocklehurst. Once Jane comes of age, she finds employment at Thornfield and Mr Rochester falls under her spell but he conceals a dark secret that could poison their relationship forever

As Jane and Mr Rochester, young Australian star Mia Wasikowska and Irish actor Michael Fassbender lead an exemplary ensemble cast including Judi Dench as the bustling maternal housekeeper Mrs Fairfax and Sally Hawkins as the cold-hearted lady of the manor.

Director Cary Joji Fukunaga’s camera sweeps over the foreboding Derbyshire locations, lashing his lead actress with enough wind and rain to match the emotional battering meted out by Mrs Reed and Mr Brocklehurst.

Ian Soutar