So Troll 2 hits Blu-ray. That fact is as sure a sign of the coming Apocalypse as any I can think of, and, at the very least, must threaten the entire Blu-ray format with destruction, as judgment rains down from the hands of an angry God. If, Gentle Reader, you come to this review without any foreknowledge of the film, and are actually wondering if a movie called Troll 2 might be good, then please run as fast as you can and hide. Or at the very least, please watch the legendary YouTube clip appended below. What, you’re still here? Don’t say you weren’t warned.
I’m risking my immortal soul by writing any kind of a synopsis of this film, but here goes. Little Josh (Michale Stephenson) is regularly visited by the rather cranky ghost of his grandfather, who warns him about the dangers posed by goblins (yes, this is a movie called Troll 2 that features goblins instead of trolls â€“ already a dire omen). Josh’s family heads off into the countryside for a pioneer-style holiday. Less than happy to be on the trip is teenage daughter Holly (Connie McFarland), whose callow boyfriend Elliot (Jason Wright) was supposed to come along, but was late. Elliot and his equally idiotic friends are now trying to catch up under their own steam. Our characters arrive in the town of Nilbog, where the residents turn out to be goblins in disguise. Their dastardly plans involve transforming the people into vegetable hybrids, and then eating them.
This is 1980s horror at its absolute worst, and, if taken in the right frame of mind, can be quite entertaining. The dialogue and characterizations are so awful as to be surreal. One of my favorite moments comes early in the road trip. Father and daughter are arguing over Elliot, and mother Diane (Margo Prey), in an effort to stop the fight, yells at Josh to sing “that song.” What is this obscurity? “Row, row, row your boat.” The last time I saw that song demanded with such terrifying psychosis, it was by Scorpio imposing it on a group of kidnapped schoolchildren in Dirty Harry. This is scarier.
Then we have the special effects, which consist largely of dollops of green goo and dreadful, rubbery, unmoving masks. And here’s one for the trivia hounds: who designed the lackluster costumes? Why, none other than Black Emanuelle herself, Laura Gemser.
I could go on, but allow me to summarize thusly: while a solo viewing of this now-legendary atrocity might be something of an ordeal, as a party film, with a rowdy group, this can’t miss.
Troll 2 is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1. The 1080p image is arrived at with an AVC/MPEG-4 codec at an average of about 25 mbps. While you’d be hard-pressed to consider this an out-standing high definition presentation, this is a huge upgrade from the terrible DVD that was released years ago. There is more detail here and improved black levels. Colors actually break out from time to time. I remember the original DVD had an almost soft VHS feel to it. This one certainly doesn’t have that appearance. The low budget shows, perhaps a bit too much here.
The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 offers little in the way of aggressive surrounds or ambient sounds. The dialog works. Occasionally the music breaks through with something approaching dynamic. Here the low budget is more than evident.
This may not quite be in the upper echelons of the so-bad-it’s-great film (though I will freely concede many will disagree with me) in that there is some dullness in between the hilarity. In other words, I wouldn’t quite put this in the same rank as The Swarm, where every second is gold. Even so, this is quite the goldmine of unintentional comedy, and connoisseurs of the spectacularly awful owe it to themselves to add this to their collection.
Parts of this review were written by Gino Sassani