Three years ago, movie websites across the Internet began to buzz about an unusual film property – a low-budget, mockumentary-style horror-comedy from Norway called Troll Hunter. European genre enthusiasts all but sung the movie’s praises from the mountaintops, fomenting a small but potent head of hype when it eventually opened in the United States.
While Troll Hunter didn’t exactly blow the top off the stateside box office, it did earn generally warm reviews and has built up a healthy cult following (largely via its semi-permanent status streaming on Netflix). This led to director Chris Columbus’s 1492 Productions purchasing the rights for a remake of the film – a remake that has finally found a director in fan-favorite Neil Marshall (Centurion).
Deadline reports that Marshall is preparing to begin filming an English-language remake of Troll Hunter in early 2014. Perhaps best known for his recent work directing the spectacular “Blackwater” episode of Game of Thrones, Marshall is currently finishing work on another episode of the same show for its fourth season. Once he has completed his duties for the HBO series, Marshall intends to begin filming Troll Hunter while the winter season holds – thus confirming that this remake will retain something of the original’s chilly setting.
The Norwegian Troll Hunter follows three amateur college filmmakers as they attempt to make a documentary about a man that they initially believe to be a pitiless bear poacher. When the trio follows him deep into the Norwegian woods, they discover firsthand that this gruff loner is in fact a government-sanctioned trolljeger, tasked with keeping the nation’s troll population in check. What follows is a genuinely scary, wryly hilarious ride – with surprisingly great special effects, to boot.
Marshall’s involvement with Troll Hunter’s English adaptation will no doubt summon conflicted feelings in genre fans. The British director has a wonderful visual eye and produces consistently engaging work (even when it’s gonzo nonsense such as Doomsday). Troll Hunter will be his return to the horror genre – his first since 2005’s The Descent, easily one of the best horror films of the last decade.
All this said, a comparatively low-budget remake of Troll Hunter (this version is being made for $25 million, roughly equivalent to the budget of the original) feels problematic at best. When foreign films are remade simply to get their respective properties into English, there’s always a whiff of cynicism about the proceedings – one that is unfortunately supported by every news story of American audiences asking for refunds because a movie has subtitles. This case feels especially market-driven, given how well the original Troll Hunter holds up.
Of course, English-language remakes need not be hollow shadows of their inspirations. In a similarly Nordic example, Let Me In ended up a critically respected and commercially viable film – all despite early concerns that it would be a diminished version of Let the Right One In. In addition, there are elements of Troll Hunter that are – despite being approachable to foreign audiences – fairly unique to Norwegian culture and folklore. Having shown a knack for adapting monster legends in Dog Soldiers, Marshall could possibly bring a more British sensibility to the idea of trolls as especially rapacious wildlife.
For all our anxiety regarding this remake, for the moment we’ll reserve judgment until we know more about how Marshall will approach the material. Check back with Screen Rant for more information on when Troll Hunter will emerge from those deep, dark woods.
Troll Hunter has no firm release date, but will begin filming in early 2014.