The best way I can think of seperating Troll Hunter's found-footage aspect from all the others is imagine if the kids from The Blair Witch Project, the party goers from Cloverfield or the crew from The Last Exorcism had an expert with them. Someone to tell them what was going on, how to handle the situation, give them tools to protect themselves etc etc. Well, you'd get a lot more plot out of the whole endeavour, wouldn't you? Now, this probably wouldn't have worked for aforementioned films because, truth be told, they don't have a whole bunch of plot. When they work, they work on a visceral level. Troll Hunter works because it delves into Norwegian folklore and landscape with energy and humour.
I think with Troll Hunter, 2010's Rare Exports along with Let The Right One In have carved out the Scandinavian horror/fantasy niche quiet well. The films' landscapes are a character unto themselves and add so much to these films that a remake could never fully capture. Troll Hunter begins with film students setting off to discover what is behind a rash of odd bear related killings only to find Otto who is not a poacher but a legit Troll Hunter. This happens within the first 20 minutes of the film and for the next hour and a half we're treated to a bonafide rollicking adventure. The film crew picks up with Otto as the troll population is acting up and it's up to Otto to figure it out and restore order. Otto agrees to all of this and is forthcoming with all his information because he is tired of living in secrecy and wants the truth to come out. Because of this we're treated to several different varieties of trolls as well as the government's involvement and how they cover it up. As the film is able to travel several different locations over the course of several days in the film, we're able to see the way the trolls are unknowingly dealt with which provides some of the strongest comedic moments and also helps to create a full world.
The effects of the trolls are CGI and while they effects are not the best I've ever seen they're certainly world away from the worst (*cough* Survival of the Dead *cough*) but it gets a bit hairy when the films falls into long sustained shots of the trolls. As anyone who reads this blog regularly knows, I'm a big fan of less is more. The flashes of the trolls are incredibly impressive and the actors interaction with them is spot on. On a three million dollar budget that nothing that's nothing short of mind-boggling impressive and I would love to see more of that artistry in bigger budget films.
The design of the trolls is why I would say this film veers into fantasy rather than sci-fi or horror. It's definitely reminiscent of fairy tales and folklore etchings which is actually quite refreshing. Troll Hunter manages to be both genuinely funny and hair-raisingly tense. The best way to describe it is as a dark-b-movie-fantasy-comedy which lives up to every promise a genre fan could hope for.