Films as a general rule, are meant to entertain. And in order to entertain, regardless of the genre, it is generally accepted that a few principles need to be adhered to. For instance, the acting and the script has to be of a standard that make the characters believable; the story and plot should be interesting enough to keep us captivated; and the effects have to show enough realism so as not to shatter the illusion. Now and then however, a film will arrive on our shelves that will take all these principles and just piss all over the top of them. Troll 2 is one of these films.
Released in 1990, this movie has achieved a cult following due to how terrible it is. In fact, it supersedes the genre of ‘bad film’ so much it can only be labelled as ‘worst film,’ and considering it’s up against classics such as Gangsters, Guns & Zombies, Gigli and Showgirls, you can see that this is quite a feat.
Written and directed by Claudio Fragasso, an Italian not very fluent in English, Troll 2 is an absolute car crash of a movie. Fragasso cast American unknowns and was adamant they follow the script to the letter with no improvisation or changes. This communication breakdown is no doubt the main contributor to how bad this movie is. Not that I’m making excuses for it, I doubt even JJ Abrams could turn this into a decent film.
Troll 2 doesn’t quite begin where the original Troll left off because the two films are completely unrelated. In fact, Troll 2 doesn’t even have any bloody trolls in it! The title was a sneaky marketing ploy hoping to cash in on the original ‘Trolls’ success. After watching this, I can understand why.
It begins with Grandpa Seth telling young Joshua (his grandson) the story of evil goblins who roam the forest turning people into plants so they can eat them. It’s a bit like The Princess Bride at this point, but then any resemblance to decent films promptly dies when Josh’s mother walks in the room and reminds him that his grandpa has been dead for six months, and to stop being mental.
The family is getting ready for a big move to a village called ‘Nilbog’, a house swap apparently, with a family who live there. By this point I was hooked. The acting is so wooden it genuinely feels like they’re directly reading straight off an out of shot script. And the script is so hilariously bad I can’t do it justice trying to describe it. Just watch this. Or this.
When they get to Nilbog and enter the house they will be staying in, they discover a full on spread of food left out for them. Grandpa Seth appears before Josh at this point and explains to the boy that if they eat the food they will turn into plants and be eaten by the goblins who infest the village. But how does he stop his family ingesting the food left out for them? I can think of a few methods but none like Josh’s who decides to just stand on the table and promptly pee all over it. I suppose that will work too.
As the film progresses, we meet a crazy druid woman who lives in the forest trying to turn the characters into plants for her beloved goblins. Her overacting is almost spoof like, and culminates in the mentalist sex scene I’ve ever seen on TV and involves a cob of corn bursting into popcorn because of the intense ‘heat of passion’! We also meet Sheriff Freak, (yes that is his real name), the local lawmaker who like everyone else in the village, is really a goblin in disguise.
The real stars of this film have to be the goblins though whose costumes look like a nursery child’s papier-mâché project. Tiny little half men who spend the whole movie running around waving wooden spears threatening to eat people with mouths that don’t move!
To summarise, this film has a plot that doesn’t make any sense, actors who don’t know how to act, a script that sounds awkward, and special effects that just aren’t that special. But now that I’ve said that, I can also say that I loved this movie! It is made up of scenes that are nothing short of hilarious and will have you staring at your screen incredulously wondering why on earth someone gave this the green light for release. This film might not be well made but it certainly is entertaining and with only a 94 minute running time, it definitely is worth a watch.
Troll 2 is a film that will stay with me for a long time, if not forever. I’m still undecided though if that’s a good thing or a bad thing.