I apologise for not noticing the standard formatting for reviews, I'll follow it in future. Doing it now for this review would involve effectively rewriting it, so I'll just post it as is.
I love the fact that due to the internet, people who like films like this don’t have to feel alone. Of course, it also brings people with all sorts of deviant views together, but no need to dwell on that. The question I was asked by one of the group of friends who watched this with me last night was “where the hell did you find this piece of crap?” – thank you, internet!
There’s already been a bunch of reviews of this film, but I guess a few of the main points need to be mentioned in case you’ve not had the pleasure. First, the title, “Troll 2”. You’d expect trolls, right? Wrong. What you get is goblins- for fun, as my mate Chris did, every time someone says “goblin” you say “troll” in a weird voice like you’re dubbing the word onto the soundtrack, and pretend you’re watching an actual sequel, or just a film with a title that makes sense.
Holly: Elliott! What kind of idiotic joke is this? You scared the s**t out of me!
Elliott: I'm the victim of a nocturnal rapture. I have to release my lowest instincts with a woman.
Holly: [Punches Elliott in the groin] Release your instincts in the bathroom.
Elliott: Are you nuts? You tryin' to turn me into a homo?
Holly: Wouldn't be too hard. If my father discovers you here, he'd cut off your little nuts and eat them. He can't stand you.
A quote from one of the least convincing relationships in the movies, but not close to the funniest exchange in the film. So…the plot. Suburban family, for reasons never really explained all that much, is taking part in a house-swap with a rural family from the town of “Nilbog”. If there’s ever been a lamer way of crowbarring some normal family into the middle of weird events, then I’ve yet to see it. Elliott, mentioned above, asks to go on holiday with the family, misses their car so decides to take his three friends in a Winnebago to join them- I’m not down with sly gay jokes about characters in films, but these four guys are the most obvious closet cases I’ve seen in years. Oh, the kid of the family keeps seeing his dead grandpa, who warns him about the dangers of goblins in the form of a bedtime story- well, he is dead: social niceties aren’t a big priority.
The scene where the family drives from suburbia to Nilbog is a good place to discuss the acting chops on display. The son appears to be constipated throughout the film, the daughter is like that half-pretty girl you knew at school who wanted to act but was so wooden you were surprised she didn’t sprout leaves, the father…we spent about ten minutes trying to figure out who the father reminded us of. I went for Bruce Boxleitner, but I was a bit drunk and I meant to say the other bloke who was the first captain of “Babylon 5”; other names were bandied about but no satisfactory conclusion was reached. The towering glory in the acting department is the mother’s, though. Her constant wide-eyed expression indicates a degree of fear about everything in the universe, and her attempts to maintain order on the car journey is hilarious in its over-the-topness. A sample:
Diana: Shouting Joshua, start singing. Come on, sing that song I like so much.
Joshua: I don't feel like singing, Mom!
Diana: Just sing.
Joshua: [singing] Row, row, row your boat, gently down the stream...
Diana, Joshua: [both singing] Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily. Life is but a dream...
A few questions – if she likes it so much, why doesn’t she know the title? And who likes “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” a lot
? The expression on her face during this exchange is one step away from sheer mania and is brilliant.
So we’ve had solid belly laughs, terrible acting, cheap special effects (the story being told by the dead grandpa had them damn goblins in it, and someone being turned into a half-man, half-plant by special goblin poisoned food and eaten) and character motivation which makes no sense at all, and we’re only 15 minutes in! This family is stupid. I mean, when they go to swap houses with the Nilbog residents (Nilbogers? Nilbogians?) they’re weird and hostile, and virtually scream out “run! Run, you townie fools! For your lives!” but our “heroes” are entirely oblivious and just mention all the exciting conveniences their home has. There’s a scene inside the house involving food which I’d match against any scene in film history for sheer “what the hell?”-ness but I really don’t want to spoil any more for you- in fact, I’ll let you discover the rest of the joys of this film for yourself. We’ve got a small town which a blind, deaf person would know was suspicious as hell, a family, a group of horny teenage boys and the promise of some goblins. Let’s get it on!
You’ve yet to meet Creedence, who lives in “the building that looks like a church”; Sheriff Freak (his name, not a comment from me on him); the store owner who sells nothing but lumpy milk; or our favourite goblin (the one with the googly eyes, you’ll know him when you see him). You’ve yet to get the full joy of the least dead dead guy in movie history, who appears to his grandson but gets the bedrooms mixed up and frightens his granddaughter instead, passes people Molotov cocktails and fries evil preachers with lightning; you’ve yet to wonder at the weird perspective (the family drives past the Winnebago and the daughter gives her errant boyfriend the finger, and he sees it and is upset – but in a long shot, the family are over half a mile away
; you’ve yet to witness the power of baloney sandwiches; and you’ve yet to ask yourself the question- would you drink broth that had fog coming out of the top of it?
This film is magnificent. It’s the daddy of bad 80s / 90s horror films, and should take its place at the very top of the tree with the other classics of hilariously bad cinema. It has no redeeming features- even the ending betrays the slim logic the film has built up to that point, no tension, no acting, and makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. But it does it all in such style it’s impossible not to laugh your ass off all the way through. Sit back, grab a drink and a few friends who appreciate this sort of crap, and enjoy.