Snow White and the Huntsman Review by Buffy Kennedy

Snow White and the Huntsman Review

by Buffy Kennedy

After seeing the trailer for Snow White and the Huntsman, I was eager to go out and see it!  It helped that I’m a Chris Hemsworth groupie…I had debated whether or not it was worth seeing because I was worried about Kristen Stewart’s potential and how on Earth they were going to make her prettier and more desirable than Charlize Theron.  Seeing an opportunity to review it for y’all, I jumped at the excuse to go see it, even if it meant seeing it alone.

Now, where to start?!  My first impression as the movie began was only one word: eerie.  That impression continued through many parts of the movie.  The magic mirror in particular was another decidedly eerie element.  The way it came off the wall and stood there draped in gold was oh so weird.

However, that’s not even the weirdest part.  The dark forest is creeptastic, and I think there were pools of sludge that poofed up clouds of LSD because when inhaled, the victim started getting wicked hallucinations.  In contrast though, the woods that the dwarves lead her and the huntsman into are so peaceful and bright and whimsical.

There’s a lot of magic in the world created, and yeah that’s to be expected, but it still requires a great deal of “suspension of disbelief”.  I’m usually pretty good at that, but there were times that I had trouble during this particular 2 hours.  Maybe it’s just that Kristen is so branded as Bella and that character that it’s hard to really grasp her as any other role, but it just wasn’t consistently plausible.  It doesn’t help that there are similarities in that she’s pretty helpless for most of the movie, annoyingly so!

Here’s a pretty basic rundown of my take on all the characters and beasties:  The Queen was extremely beautiful, even as psychotic as she was; the dwarves were hilarious and probably one of my favorite elements in the movie; the troll is boss, before being reduced to nothing more than an angry puppy; the fairies were adorable and very pixie-like in appearance; Snow White is fairly worthless and whiny until the very end (and I have to admit KS does step up and actually give a decent speech, and occasionally sheds tears, holy crap!); and the huntsman (my CH =D) is pretty badass and sexy, even when covered in mud, and OMG the accent…

Sure there were little things that bugged the crap out of me, such as the queen’s frequent screaming, the fact that Snow’s costume kept coming off her shoulders occasionally when it’s obvious there’s no reason it should (except to take an opportunity to show a little gratuitous skin on her bare shoulders), the battle sequences seeming a little frantic, and the fact that the huntsman is old enough to have been married and widowed while Snow White JUST turned 18 (talk about barely legal…just sayin’), but overall it’s really not a bad movie.  I’m not saying it’s in my favorites, but I can’t call it bad.  For one, I’m a music person, and I fully believe that music can make or break a movie (such as the awful music in Watchmen *shudder*).  SW&tH had great music!  I ran home and got the soundtrack.  I suppose it’s even more important to note that the cinematography in this movie is magnificent.  The makeup, the special effects, it was just superb.

I am cutting back on my movie owning, but this one definitely sticks out in my mind enough for me to debate getting it when it releases to DVD.  And on that note, I shall simply leave you with a little piece of yum…damn he can protect me any day!


I’m a stay home wife working on writing a book (or three). I have a passion for reading, especially romances, so I always have a book or e-reader with me. When I’m not working on writing my own books, I’m writing reviews on many of the books I read, and I do so for several blogs. I got started from a friend’s nudge in the right direction as a way to improve my writing, find new books, and meet people. It’s worked wonders on all fronts! Anyway, the bottom line about me is that I have a wicked sweet tooth, an obsession with books in general, a music addiction, and a dream to join the ranks of published authors. –Buffy Kennedy

Beastly Review by Sue Penkivech

Beastly Review
by Sue Penkivech

Director:  Daniel Barnz
Release date:  March 4, 2011
Rating:  PG-13
Running time:  86 minutes

 Beastly

When KV Taylor first approached me to review  Beastly, I was at first reluctant.  I’d loved the book when I read it last year, and was concerned that the movie version, starring Alex Pettyfer and Vanessa Hudgens (who I’d hated throughout my daughters’ million viewings of High School Musical), would be disappointing at best.

I was both amazed and excited to discover just how wrong I’d been.

The movie begins with Kyle Kingson (played by Alex Pettyfer) campaigning for the presidency of a committee about which he admittedly cares nothing, but thinks will look good on his college applications.  At this point, I was prepared to write off the movie – Kyle’s speech about how it’s more important to look good than to have substance was off-putting and more than a little heavy handed.  But I persevered, and was glad that I did.

Enter Kendra (Mary-Kate Olsen), a pale, fae-like high schooler, who first defaces Kyle’s campaign  posters and then disputes his points, observing that Lindy (Vanessa Hudgeons) would’ve been a far superior president but instead ran for Treasurer because she didn’t believe she stood a chance in the popularity contest.  Why?  Granted, Lindy’s a scholarship student, but she meets Kyle’s superficial criteria – she’s certainly beautiful.   In any case, Lindy denies either knowing Kendra or any interest in the presidency.  Case closed, and Kyle goes home to be ignored by his image-obsessed anchorman father.

Unfortunately, Kyle decides to get even with Kendra, apologizing for his attitude and inviting her to a formal dance.  At first, it’s unclear as to why.  At the dance, Kyle’s rebuked by his girlfriend for having bought the wrong type of corsage, offers it instead to Lindy when he congratulates her on winning the Treasurer position, and has his picture taken with Lindy for the school paper.  But Kyle’s motivations become clear when Kendra arrives and he publically humiliates her – and she curses him to find out just what it means to be ugly.  By the time Kyle returns home, he’s learned; he looks like a bald, veiny, tattooed, punk rock version of his formerly clean-cut self, and Kendra’s voice explains that he will look like that forever, unless he can find someone who will say she loves him before a year is out.

(Personally, at that point I had to wonder why he just didn’t add a few piercings, find some girl at a bar, tell her that he was the lead singer in a band, and promise to put her in his next video.  It seemed as if it would’ve saved everyone a lot of trouble.  But I’m a cynic at times.)

The next parts of the movie closely follow the Beauty and the Beast story, with modern day modifications.  Kyle’s father moves him into another house, to be cared for by their housekeeper Zola (LisaGay Hamilton) until they can figure out what to do.  He hires him a tutor as well, a blind man named Will (Neil Patrick Harris), who isn’t afraid to tell Kyle exactly what he thinks of him and his attitude.

Kyle encounters Lindy again when he drug-addict father falls afoul of drug dealer and shoots one – and makes him a deal.  He’ll keep quiet about the shooting, and take Lindy and keep her safe.  Lindy’s fathert father agrees, and Lindy very reluctantly moves into the house of her father’s “old friend” for her own protection.

And, of course, Kyle (who Lindy now knows as Hunter) learns to care.  He worries about Zola’s family, whom she hasn’t seen in years, and the loss of Will’s sight.  And about Lindy, who gradually warms towards him, never realizing he’s the same guy she’d known at school (who she admits to him that she was interested in, before he suddenly “disappeared”).

All seems well, until Lindy’s father overdoses.  Kyle, while realizing that the year is nearly over, insists that she go to him – and that she go to Manchu Picchu, a trip she’d been saving for and looking forward to for years.  He gives her a long love letter as a parting gift, then regrets it when, before reading it, she tells him that she considers him a good friend.  Heartbroken, he ignores her calls until Will and Zola prompt him to go and see her off at the airport.  Where, in true fairy tale form, she tells him she loves him.  And leaves.

But the curse is broken.  As a bonus from Kendra, Zola’s children get their green cards and Will’s sight is restored.  In a nice twist, when Lindy returns, Kyle goes to meet her – but she blows him off, because she’s looking for Hunter.  Only when she calls Hunter and Kyle’s phone rings does she realize the truth.  Scenes shown during the credits depict their life together after high school – where they’re very obviously living happily ever after.

There are several notable differences between the movie and the book.  The first is the most obvious – while Kyle’s appearance in the movie is certainly odd, he’s definitely no “beast” – no fur or claws, just a lot of veins, scars, and tattoos.   Zola, in the book, was actually Kendra in disguise, there to watch over Kyle in the hopes that he’d learn his lesson.  By comparison, I rather liked that Zola was a character in her own right, who just legitimately cared about Kyle despite his initially horrible attitude toward her.  And finally, the end of the movie shows Kendra at Kyle’s father’s station, having just been hired as his new intern and suggesting that he was her next target.  It would have been interesting to see in the ending credits just what had happened there.

In any case, the movie was spectacular, with a great soundtrack that was exactly what you wouldn’t expect in a fantasy film, but which fit it perfectly nonetheless.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!


Sue Penkivech is a substitute paraeducator, a former school librarian, and an aspiring writer.  Her work has been published in Spec the Halls: 2011 EditionBarren WorldsFantastic Pulp Magazine, and the recently released Eighth Day Genesis: A Worldbuilding Codex.  She’s prone to rambling on about what she’s reading to anyone who’ll listen – which might be why she has so much time to read!  Visit her on the web at suepenkivech.wordpress.com!

Night Tide and She Creature by Mina Kelly

Night Tide and She Creature

by Mina Kelly

I had a bit of a flashback to my posts for last year’s Fae Awareness when I came to watch Night Tide and She Creature; as Ondine was rooted in the real world while The Secret of Roan Inish embraced the myth wholeheartedly, the same is true of Night Tide and She Creature respectively. Last year’s films were romances. This year’s are horror.

The following review spoils both films pretty thoroughly, I’m afraid.

In Spanish and Italian the word of mermaid is Sirena, in French Sirène, Portuguese Sereia, Polish Syrena, Romanian Sirenă. Trust English to be the odd one out, huh? Of course, the irony is that the sirens of Greek myth were very definitely not sea creatures, but instead actually had several bird features, which came and went as the myths evolved.

The first mermaid as we’d recognise her to appear mythologically is Atargatis, mother of an Assyrian queen. Ashamed of accidentally killing her lover she tries to turn into a fish, but she’s so beautiful her top half remains human and only her legs transform. At least this explains the doomed romance angle we’re still so hung up on today. I’ve always found it a bit weird how strongly associated they are with romance: as Fry in Futurama complains, “Why couldn’t she be the other kind of Mermaid? With the fish part on top and the lady part on the bottom!”

The usual way around this is the give the mermaid legs under certain circumstances, which both Night Tide and She Creature do. In a cute reversal, while Night Tide‘s mermaid only has a tail at full moon, She Creature‘s only has legs then.

Night Tide

Night Tide opens with Dennis Hopper as a young sailor, Johnny wandering into a bar. He sees a beautiful woman, Mora, and makes an excuse to join her at her table. She acquiesces, but when he tries to strike up a conversation she cuts him short, insisting she wants to listen to the music. He offers to buy her a drink, she declines. A strange old lady comes to the table and talks to the beautiful woman in a foreign language, later revealed to be Greek (I have no idea if it’s actually Greek or just gobbledegook). Mora is frightened and leaves the bar in a panic, asking Johnny to pay off her tab. Johnny does, and follows Mora home, cornering her outside her flat and demanding she invites him up. She refuses, he kisses her, she tells him he can come over for breakfast the next day.

This film came out a year after Psycho, and frankly, after that opening, I had a whole different idea about what sort of plot it was going to have (especially after the breakfast scene, in which Johnny goes on about how attached he was to his mother!). Instead it turns out we’re meant to find Johnny’s ‘forwardness’ charmingly awkward, rather than the actions of a date-rapist.

Anyway, Mora lives over a merry-go-round at aVeniceBeachfairground and plays a mermaid as part of the sideshow. She’s got two dead boyfriends and a lot of gossip going around about her, and she believes she’s a mermaid. And despite all that I can’t shake the feeling she could do better than Johnny. She’s also got a mad, drunk, ex-British Navy sea captain as a guardian, who keeps heads in jars in his apartment.

Johnny isn’t sure what to think of it all, and even I felt a little sympathy for him as he tried to figure out what the hell is going on. He’s sure beautiful, dainty Mora can’t be a killer, but what if she can’t help herself? What if it’s her mermaid blood?

This theory is put paid to when they go swimming, in a scene I had to watch twice to really take in what just happened. Dennis Hopper actually proves he can act (about time!), and collapses into delirium. When he wakes up he’s accused of killing Mora; I have a moment when I think the film is turning on its head again. I’m actually hooked. What the hell is going on here?

Sadly, nothing as exciting as I’d hoped, and it’s all wrapped up in a rather cliché way. Shame.

She Creature

Night Tide is most commonly compared with Carnival of Souls, and visually the lighting and camera work have something in common. It’s well shot, but while the visuals haven’t dated the plot has, and it’s hard to sympathise with the main characters. Hopper has a few shining moments, but I’m not sure they’re worth watching the rest of the film for unless you’re already a fan.

She Creature also has a sideshow mermaid as the female lead, but she’s a rather more intelligent character than Mora. Lily, played by Carla Gugino, is sleeping with the carnival’s manager Angus (Rufus Sewell, AKA that guy! You know, he’s in. Um. That film.). For the early twentieth century Lily’s got a good bit of independence and seems to enjoy her life with the other carnies, until Angus’s desire for money leads them to kidnap a real mermaid.

That’s right: She Creature gives us a real mermaid, almost from the beginning. She’s beautiful and alien and terrifying, and like Lily you can’t help but be drawn to her. Angus has the bright idea of taking her toAmerica. The boat makes for a great (and cost-effective) setting for the rest of the film, but you have to wonder why somewhere with less ocean to cross wouldn’t have been just as good. Angus is smart, but only in certain directions.

The film has a lot of fun with the claustrophobia of the boat and the tension between the sailors and the carnies. Lily suffers the worst of it as the only woman on board, loomed over by men threatening to sexually assault her and snubbed in a way even the black character is (though turn of the century attitudes are name checked, as are modern ones – he dies first). It’s like a haunted house where everyone knows where the ghost is: in the tank, licking blood from her lips.

Lily has a diary belonging to the last woman to spend a lot of time with the mermaid. The diary contains scientific observations about the mermaid, such as what she eats (human flesh) and how regularly (a lot more often than she appears to be right now). It’s fascinating because it shows a scientific rigor none of the male characters match. Lily’s speculations are dismissed as female flights of fantasy, no matter how carefully she phrases things. There’s a wonderful scene where she tries to figure out how to tell Angus she’s pregnant, and she thinks it’s due to the mermaid. Oh, she also appears to be possessed by the mermaid sometimes. Though frankly I’d have tried to strangle Angus without the help of a supernatural sympathiser by this point.

The mermaid briefly turns into a human thanks to the full moon, in a sequence that isn’t really necessary for anything except confirming that most of the men on board deserve to die, then ramps it up into full on creature feature mode. The effects are decent, and it’s the only place the plot can really go, but if it’s killing creatures you’re into you’ll find the climax fairly standard.

She Creature is a made of TV movie taking advantage of an unused made for cinemas plot. It makes a good hash of it, and in some ways the deficits are more easily forgiven than they would be on a big screen, even though they’re plot based. For a horror film it frankly isn’t that scary and very few of the plot twists come as genuine surprises, but the emphasis on women using the scientific process is a nice change in this sort of thing. Lily is a smart, likeable heroine who very quickly realises she’s got more in common with the mermaid than the men on board. Lily makes the film worth watching.

In both films mermaids represent Otherness, specifically the Otherness of women. Night Tide speaks to its audience through Johnny: his actions are shown, his motivations explained, his psychology understood. Mora is a mystery even to herself, her Otherness heightened by her exotic history. She Creature speaks to its audience through Lily: she knows better than anyone else on the ship what it’s like to be one of a kind and to be treated as though she has less understanding than a child, but the male characters refuse to make an effort understand her or accept that her point of view is as rational as theirs. Though the audience see her point of view the characters still perceive her as Other.

Both films are worth watching, but it’s She Creature that’s worth watching more than once.


Visit Mina Kelly at solelyfictional.org.

Spirited Away Review by Alexandra Seidel

Spirited Away
Reviewed by Alexandra Seidel

Spirited Away is an Oscar-winning production from Studio Ghibli, written and directed by Miyazaki Hayao. It was released in 2001 and shall be reviewed here, as spoiler-free as possible.

Spirited Away is a classical to-Fairyland-and-back adventure. All the elements we love so well are there: bravery, friendship, shape-changing, and the discovery of the main character’s inner strength (that was just sitting there, ready to be discovered all the time). There is of course also a little bitterness in this, for those who visit Fairyland will eventually have to go home again.

The main character is Chihiro, a young girl (on a personal note, seeing a strong female main character makes me just love this anime that much more). She gets inadvertently pulled into the fairy realm (not European Fairyland, this is the home of the Japanese gods and spirits) where she works hard to save her parents who foolishly ate fairy food and got turned into pigs as a result.

Now, Spirited Away is full of all these little details that we know and fervently love from myth and folktale. For example, we will find the evil witch/good witch dichotomy here that so many fairy tales contain, the magic of one’s own name, the trials of the hero, and how she always finds her own creative ways to come through in the end.

Chihiro and No-Face

Spirited Away combines these well-known elements with its very own visual flair. Settings and characters are created with love and great care for detail. The bathhouse Chihiro finds herself in would just be highest on my list of places to visit if I ever got the chance to travel to Fairyland.

To summarize, Spirited Away is a lovely tale, something that you can watch as a child, and then re-watch as you grow older just to see new things in it every single time. This anime is just like a good book that way, and really, that should be saying everything.


Alexandra Seidel is a Rhysling nominated poet, writer, and editor. She has a powerful affection for the unreal and strange, the weird, the wicked, and naturally, the beautiful. She loves speculative writing because all these things come together there with the power to create universes. Oh, she also likes tigers, who doesn’t.

Alexa’s work has appeared in Jabberwocky, Strange Horizons, Goblin Fruit, and elsewhere. Her first book, “All Our Dark Lovers,” is forthcoming in 2013 from Morrigan Books. She is the poetry editor for Niteblade and the managing editor of Fantastique Unfettered. You can read her blog (which she really tries to update once or twice a month) at  www.tigerinthematchstickbox.blogspot.com or follow her on Twitter @Alexa_Seidel.

Princess Mononoke Review by Alexandra Seidel

Princess Mononoke
Reviewed by Alexandra Seidel

Princess Mononoke was released 1997 in Japan (1999 inNorth America) and has since received much praise from critics. It was created by Miyazaki Hayato of Studio Ghibli.

This review contains as few spoilers as possible so you can still enjoy the movie in case you haven’t seen it yet.

Here is what Princess Mononoke is: raw and beautiful, painful to watch at times, bitter, cathartic. It is set in medieval Japan, the Muromachi period to be precise. The viewer sees the old clash with the new, human evolution, especially the development of mining and firearms, are pitted against unrestrained nature. What is interesting about Mononoke is that the forces of nature come to us in the traditional shapes that Japanese folklore has long assigned them, gods and spirits who inhabit and give life to trees and living creatures as well as the land itself. In Japanese, these are referred to as “mononoke.”

InMiyazaki’s creation, these mononoke though are decidedly not apart from the world of humans, and they are certainly concerned about what happens in this world. Their concern however turns to active hostility as humans continue to disregard them. In the middle of the conflict between the ancient spirits of the land and the human’s desire to move forward no matter the cost, we find San, a young woman who was adopted into a family of spirit wolves. As such, she represents the old way of life, for she is the person who is most closely connected with the mononoke. In the human corner, if you will, there is Lady Eboshi, a forceful woman who is made great by her compassion for the pariahs of society. She is the kind of person whose vision is a better life for all people, no matter where they come from. These two extremes are bridged in the movie by the young Ashitaka who is himself an outsider. It is through his eyes that we can see the good, but also the faults in both sides, and just like him, we find ourselves hoping that there is a way to resolve the conflict without everything going up in flames, without terribly losses for both sides.

Princess Mononoke may not be the most current anime production there is, but the issues raised here are issues that every generation has to discover anew for itself: part with the old and look only ahead or honor custom and ritual. Only the problem is, things are never that easy, and this is what Monononke shows us in its relentless visual language, so if you are up for that and have not yet seen Princess Mononoke, I recommend that you have at it.


Alexandra Seidel is a Rhysling nominated poet, writer, and editor. She has a powerful affection for the unreal and strange, the weird, the wicked, and naturally, the beautiful. She loves speculative writing because all these things come together there with the power to create universes. Oh, she also likes tigers, who doesn’t.

Alexa’s work has appeared in Jabberwocky, Strange Horizons, Goblin Fruit, and elsewhere. Her first book, “All Our Dark Lovers,” is forthcoming in 2013 from Morrigan Books. She is the poetry editor for Niteblade and the managing editor of Fantastique Unfettered. You can read her blog (which she really tries to update once or twice a month) at  www.tigerinthematchstickbox.blogspot.com or follow her on Twitter @Alexa_Seidel.

The Golden Compass Review by Sasha L. Miller

The Golden Compass

by Sasha L. Miller

The Golden Compass

The Golden Compass is based off the book of the same name, part of the His Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pullman. I went into this movie having not read the book, so this review is based completely off the movie itself. The setting is a world parallel to ours, where people’s souls reside outside their bodies, in an animal spirit form called a daemon. When a person is a child, their daemon has the ability to shift forms; when they grow into an adult, the daemon settles and takes a single form.

The Magisterium, the ruling powers that be. They’re the movie’s villains, and are willing to do whatever need be to keep their hold on powers. This spans from attempts to poison dissenters to nefarious research that uh, spoilers.

The main character is a girl named Lyra Belacqua. She’s an orphan who is living at a college, placed there by her uncle Asriel, who is affiliated in some capacity with the college. She’s spunky and rebellious, doesn’t do as she’s told, hates to study, and loves to run amok outside the college walls with her best friend Roger and a gang of Gyptian children led by a boy named Billy. They tell tales to scare each other of the Gobblers, who steal children in the night.

Lyra, in the course of being a rapscallion, overhears her uncle Asriel ask for funds to research particles known as Dust. Dust is a mysterious influence on the world, and no one seems to know much about it. The Magisterium has aligned itself against the existence and influence of Dust, while the scholars at the college want to know more. The scholars at one point created a device called an alethiometer—the golden compass—which uses Dust to show the user truth. The Magisterium managed to have all but one of the compasses destroyed, and the last is safely hidden within the college.

Asriel is granted funds and departs. Not long after, a woman named Mrs. Coulter shows up. Despite being affiliated with the Magisterium, she convinces the college to allow her to take Lyra from the college to act as her assistant in a journey north. The head of the college is reluctant, but agrees. He gives Lyra the compass before she leaves, warning her to tell no one she has it. The night before Lyra leaves with Mrs. Coulter, her friends Roger and Billy disappear. Lyra and Mrs. Coulter depart to Mrs. Coulter’s house.

That’s the sum of what happens in the first 20-30 minutes of the movie. The movie continues apace—fast, with lots of information packed into a short period of time. We meet dozens of people:  the Gyptian king, the witch queen, a cowboy aeronaut, talking, armored ice bears (the King and the heir he illegitimately dethroned), mercenaries, and more. We also see lots of interesting magic and technology: the golden compass, first and foremost, spy flies, flying airships, the incision machine, and more there as well.

I can’t speak to the movie’s accuracy, but I think it was decent as a stand-alone. The biggest problem, and I’m sure it’s readily apparent, is that there’s A LOT going on, and not enough time to give all the individual aspects the attention they deserve. Dust is the big, interweaving focus of the movie, but even at the end, we don’t know much about it. I feel like all the secondary characters—the Gyptians, the witches, etc.—weren’t given nearly the depth they deserved, and the movie seemed like it was rushing to get everything in.

If you’re a fan of gorgeous visuals and fantasy, with a generally solid story backing it up, this is a good movie. It’s certainly pushed me to add the books to my ‘to read’ list, since I have no doubt that the story is even better without the time constraints of the movie parsing it down. Lyra is a wonderful protagonist, who learns and loves and is brave and strong in the face of her fears.


I spend most of my time writing, reading, or playing with all things website design. Writing is a passion I found late in life (read: college), but it’s stuck with me in a way that nothing else has. I love telling stories, creating worlds and characters and families and relationships. I mostly stick to fantasy, because I love structuring magic systems, and I always stick to romance, because I love seeing people get their happy endings. –Sasha L. Miller

Troll Hunter Review by Louise Bohmer

Troll Hunter Review
by Louise Bohmer

Director: André Ovredal
Release date: October 29, 2010
Rating: PG-13 (USA)
Running time: 104 minutes

Troll Hunter

The premise of Troll Hunter appealed to the fae (and monster) loving child in me right away. A young film crew set out to track a bear poacher named Hans, but they discover there is far more than Winnie the Pooh lurking in these woods.

It’s a mockumentary–something I’m admittedly getting tired of, so I had some reservations. The film starts off a bit slow. I thought the buildup was well done overall, but I did grow impatient for some troll glimpses. Still the early scenes are creepy and effective in stirring childlike imagination back to life. Those who have wandered a rural forest at night will know what I mean.

There’s a conspiracy to hide the existence of trolls, and these unwitting university students have just stumbled right on top of it. Hans’ poaching reputation is a ruse, and bears are brought in from as far as Croatia to provide a cover story when rampaging trolls break out of territory lines, slaughtering humans, livestock, and causing general havoc. Hans works for the TST, better known as the Troll Security Team.

But he’s getting tired of this dirty, grim work. He’s not so cool with killing trolls anymore. So he decides to expose this Norway folklore as truth, by taking the film crew along on a covert hunting excursion.

After a ride in Hans’ Land Rover, and a thorough bath in troll stink, our filmmakers journey deep into these Norwegian woods to hunt a raglefant–a towering, one-armed monstrosity that lives under a bridge. Let’s just say viewers will never look at Three Billy Goats Gruff in the same way again.

Hans hunts these beasts with a bulky UV gun. No bullets for this weapon. It shoots out a strong beam of UV light instead because, as we all know, trolls turn to stone when light touches them, or they explode. Later, the film gives a scientific explanation for this, via a veterinarian who works with Hans in the TST. Trolls’ bodies can’t turn Vitamin D from sunlight into calcium the way we can, so when they’re exposed to intense UV rays their stomachs bloat as gas fills it and blood vessels until they explode. The older trolls calcify from sunlight. Since their veins are too thin, apparently the enlarging happens in their bones, and they turn to limestone in no time.

A lot of Norwegian folklore references are sprinkled throughout the film, and references to Norwegian fairy tales. The two species of trolls, mountain and woodland, come from Norway’s folklore. The folk tales collected by Asbjørnsen and Moe are mentioned, but our hunter Hans tells the filmmakers these old fairy tales weren’t entirely accurate. Oh, and if you’re a Christian, you may want to avoid troll territory altogether.

Some of the trolls are seen through night vision, which some viewers might not care for, but other troll encounters are simply spectacular. (I don’t want to say too much, in case I spoil the troll goodness for you.) The scene in the cave is particularly intense, and actually brought back that childhood giddy fear I so love. (Remember watching your favorite horror flicks, clutching a pillow with all your might? That kind of fear.)

Troll Hunter also incorporates subtle, quirky humor, but even this fun movie has its somewhat serious moments, when world issues and Norwegian bureaucracy are pondered. The effects are, at times, amazing, and at the very least they’re great fun. The story developed to explain the existence of trolls will thrill any folklorist, fae enthusiast, or monster lover, and the light humorous vein will have you laughing in the film’s quieter moments.

If you’re a lover of these lumbering, hairy, stinky giants of fae, I highly recommend you check this one out.


Louise Bohmer is a freelance editor and writer based in Sussex, New Brunswick. She edits for Permuted Press, and is an associate editor with KHP Publishers, Inc. Her debut novel–The Black Act–was released by Library of Horror in 2009, but is now out of print. You can read her short fiction inDetritusOld SchoolThe Red Penny Papers, and Courting Morpheus.

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