What the hell is a cannibal troll? A troll that eats other trolls?
Directed by Scott Jeffrey (who also wrote it) and Rebecca Matthews, Cannibal Troll stars Georgina Jane, Barbara Dabson, Faith Kiggundu, Nicole Nabi, Megan Purvis, Kate Sandison and as Zuza Tehanu.
A group of friends go out to camp in a forbidden part of the countryside. Forbidden because it houses a troll who is always looking for fresh victims.
A ‘stalk & slash’ horror, Cannibal Troll is a pretty terrible movie save for a few things. We’ll get into the bad things in a bit but for now, let’s focus on some of the things it does right.
A predominantly female cast. As always, it’s strange for this to be the sort of thing you feel you have praise, but such is life. Every lead, including the troll, is played by a woman. That is awesome.
The troll, played by Zuza Tehanu looks pretty good, aside from the stupid teeth. The actress is decked out in a lot of makeup (that doesn’t extend to the hands for some reason) and moves/acts in a very feral way. Probably the best the thing about the movie.
The locations are nice and the film is shot well. You will often find yourself admiring the cinematography just as a distraction. The film also tries to hold your attention with a couple of sub-plots that at least flesh out the characters some more.
This is the good stuff. Now, on to the bad stuff. Let’s start with the one that becomes abundantly clear within the first 20 minutes of the movie, the acting.
It’s wide range of talents here and while no-one does terribly, there are far two many times when someone delivers a line in such a cringy and wooden way, you can’t help but wonder why they weren’t given another go at it. It doesn’t help that most of the characters aren’t that likable or interesting. Which is a shame because you’ll find yourself wanting to get behind his ensemble but their actions, behaviour and issues just don’t have any impact.
The story… it really doesn’t make any sense. We have a troll, living in a nice house in the woods. If people stumble into its territory, it hunts them and either kills them or kidnaps them. There’s no eating here so bugger knows what the title is talking about.
It seems to be able to teleport, such is the speed it gets around and when it has its victims, it seems to want to play happy home-maker with them. It’s very odd. Even more so because a local priest is aware of its existence and, other than warning people about going into an area that he deems forbidden (it’s not), does nothing to stop it. Oh, later in the film he decides that enough is enough, but why not before?
Perhaps the most infuriating thing about the movie though is how it asks you to buy into things that are absurd. From the idea that a woman would go camping that late into her pregnancy, that the same woman would then have her waters break and give birth in less than a minute. To the idea that the women are in a really remote location. Except they walk on paths, arrive a scenic area with a bench that overlooks a town and there’s nothing officially forbidden about it.
The way in which the film pretends that people can get lost in this area is hilariously bad. You’ll spend more time screaming at the screen for the women to head towards the town that was clearly less than half a mile away at a slow pace.
A subplot about coming out and realising you may be gay is handled with some care but that it feels so forced and that it is part of a traumatic experience means it fails to land. It also doesn’t help that the openly gay character badgers the possibly closeted one to the point of annoyance. Demanding that she call off her wedding and find herself because they had a number of gay experiences together in the past. That she never considers the fact that she could be bi-sexual, hardly makes her likable at all.
All of these issues, and there are more, combine to make Cannibal Troll an absolute chore to get through. It’s not fun, it’s not exciting and it’s horror credentials are light at best.
The Final Score - 3/10