Neil Marshall, the English filmmaker known for high-octane horror thrillers, will helm an English-language version of the 2011 Norwegian horror fantasy Trollhunter. Marshall will rewrite a script by DreamWorks executive Marc Haimes and go into pre-production on the feature as soon as he finishes work on Game of Thrones’ fourth-season finale.
If there has to be an expensive American remake of this wildly original horror movie, at least 1492 Pictures – founded by Home Alone director Chris Columbus – hired Marshall to helm the new Trollhunter. Marshall’s skilfulness at creating an atmosphere of suspense and horror have been clearly evident since his debut feature – the chilling werewolf tale Dog Soldiers – gripped audiences in 2002. Marshall later continued with what’s considered to be one of the most frightening horror films in modern times, The Descent, followed by his love letter to ‘80s action cinema, Doomsday and his savage medieval period piece Centurion. More recently, Marshall has worked on two epic TV series, directing the brilliant Blackwater episode of Game of Thrones and the pilot of the upcoming pirate drama Black Sails for the Starz network.
André Øvredal’s original Trollhunter is a clever mash-up of The Blair Witch Project and Jurassic Park – focused on a group of students setting out to make a documentary about a possible case of illegal poaching deep in the Norwegian boreal forest, only to stumble across a secret, government-sanctioned mission to keep the wild troll population at bay. The dangerous and massive trolls are a sub-humanoid race of giants, and the students’ only hope for survival is a grizzled loner whose life revolves around tracking and killing the trolls while posing as a bear hunter. The beleaguered and lonely hunter decides to share his story, and the students end up following him into the wilds of Norway where danger awaits.
Will the remake follow the found footage/documentary style of the original? This is not a format that Marshall has used to date. Let’s hope the producers veto the played-out found-footage style with all its shaky-cam and improvised chatter. Øvredal will not be involved in the remake, which is a shame as his designs of the first film’s trolls were a major part of its success – and the polar opposite of how these creatures are usually depicted in films like Troll (1986) and Troll 2 (1990) – as hairy leprechaun-like beings with magical powers. While Øvredal’s film cost an estimated $3.5 million, Columbus’s production is pegged at $25 million, which presumably buys a big star – in this case, an older chap who comes off as both cantankerous and charismatic, like Robert Shaw in Jaws. Financiers IMG Global are reportedly hoping for a 2014 production start on the project – shooting early in the year when snow still lies on the ground in northern latitudes.