troll | troll 2 | claudio fragasso | rossella drudi | michael paul stephenson | george hardy | margo prey | goblin | goblins | monster | monsters | creature | creatures | sequel | comedy | fantasy | italy | connie young | robert ormsby | deborah reed | vacation | witch
Film: Troll 2
Director: Claudio Fragasso
Writer: Rossella Drudi and Claudio Fragasso
Starring: Michael Paul Stephenson, George Hardy and Margo Prey
This movie was one I remember watching in my childhood home. I was on my bunk bed and I’m pretty sure I got my father to rent it since he had purchased the original Troll on VHS, which my sister and I really liked. Even back then I knew it wasn’t very good. I’m pretty sure I hadn’t seen this since then aside from catching some scenes on the movie channels throughout the years. The synopsis here is a vacationing family discovers that the entire town they’re visiting is inhabited by goblins, disguised as humans, who plan on eating them.
We jump right in seeing a young man fleeing across a field from goblins. There is voice-over narration that Grandpa Seth (Robert Ormsby) as he is telling a story to Joshua Waits (Michael Paul Stephenson). His grandson keeps interrupting him, but he doesn’t seem to mind too much. The story ends with the young man being melted by a gruel that is fed to him and the goblins eat him. Josh’s talking drawing his mother to his room. Seth is her father and she is Diana (Margo Prey). She is worried since Seth has passed away, but Josh still claims to see and talk to him.
Diana then goes to the room of her daughter, Holly (Connie Young). She is working out. The reason Diana is checking in on them as they’re all supposed to be in bed. This includes herself and her husband of Michael (George Hardy) as they’re going to swap houses with a family from the country. The village they’ll be staying is Nilbog and Michael is quite excited. We also get to meet Holly’s boyfriend. His name is Elliott Cooper (Jason Wright) as he sneaks into her room. She is upset with him as he always is with his friends Arnold (Darren Ewing), Drew (Jason Steadman) and Brent (David McConnell). Elliott promises her that he will go on their vacation with him and will show up the following morning.
He doesn’t hold up his end of the bargain though. Holly is upset that they didn’t wait longer, but Michael is mad that they already waited the hour and half they did. Diana tries to make the best of their trip despite this, but things take a bit of a turn when Josh has a nightmare about his family wanting to eat him. He also sees Grandpa Seth again and has his father pull over, but it turns out to be someone else.
Elliott came up with a great idea though. He and his friends have a RV and they’re going to Nilbog as well. They’re pulled over when the Waits drive by, but they don’t stop or look particularly happy to see them.
The Waits then arrive and meet the family of the house they’ll be staying in. They aren’t very friendly and the son tosses a ball to Josh that tells him to eat. It is cryptic and creepy. Josh doesn’t like where they’re staying and Grandpa Seth keeps warning him to keep away. The country family left out food for them and Josh has to make a quick decision. He elects to urinate on the food, ruining it and pissing off his family.
While he tries to convince his family that they need to leave, we get to see what happens when you eat food from this area. There are only 20 or so people living here and they’re hiding a secret. We get a really interesting look at the leader, Creedence Leonore Gielgud (Deborah Reed) who is a descendent of druids and worshippers of Stonehenge. Can Josh prove to his family that they need to leave before it is too late?
That’s where I’m leaving my recap of the movie as that gets you up to speed. I’ve given you my history with seeing this previously, but last year I did also see the documentary that is about this movie called Best Worst Movie. That gave some interesting insight into the production here which did add a bit to this viewing in the movie. I think it also helped to make some things make more sense on top of that.
To start with the positives here though, I like the idea that they’re introducing here that this feels like a modern take on a fairy tale. The story in the beginning is a cautionary tale of what we’re going to be getting. It isn’t a horrible way to give us what to expect while also giving Josh the knowledge he will need later. I like that no one believes him, even though that is a common troupe for the horror genre.
I mean there is the glaring issue of the fact that despite its title, there are no trolls in this movie. I did read that its title was going to be goblin, but they wanted to capitalize on the minor success of the original. I’m not shocked with what I know about Italian cinema. Getting past that, I do also really like there’s a witch that is in charge of the goblins. I like incorporating druids and Stonehenge. It is also interesting that this was written because Rossella Drudi, the co-writer, had a bunch of friends all decide to be vegetarian around the same time. This does feel a like a con-vegetarian movie in an odd way.
An issue here is that it felt like the screenplay was written by someone that English was not their first language. I’ve been able to confirm this with things that I’ve read and from the documentary about this movie. It is a shame that Claudio Fragasso, who is a co-writer and the director, refused to allow the actors to ad-lip or to help make the dialogue work better. It just feels awkward. There are also some things that are introduced that just don’t make a lot of sense. The swapping houses things I guess could happen, especially in the 1980’s or 90’s, but I guess it could be. This was made for an American audience so that is why I’m confused by it. If they would have set it elsewhere, I would be a bit forgiving. I can forgive some things since Italians like to use nightmare logic.
Something else that isn’t great is the acting. We have a bunch of people who were amateurs and given major parts. I’ve definitely seen worst so I will lead off there. Stephenson does overact quite a bit. There is issues though with the writing and not just with him. Hardy is similar, but I will give credit to the energy he put into the role. Prey is fine. Young was cute in this. Ormsby is also fine and along with Reed. The rest of the cast is decent, but really the acting is subpar in general.
The last things to go over would be the effects. The look of the goblins is fine. They are just wearing burlap sacks and rubber masks, with one of them purchased from the original Troll. I feel like I recognized that one almost immediately. Not all of them look good, there are times where you can see past them, but overall I’m not going to harp too much. The melting effect I thought was fine. There is also some good cinematography in there as well. There is also the soundtrack which I thought fit for what was needed. Not one I would listen to regularly, but it fit for what was needed.
So now with that said this movie isn’t as bad as I remember. That isn’t to say that it is good. There are some good aspects though for sure. I’ll look past the title and the concept of the goblins is good. Using Stonehenge and that heritage along with it also works. The problem really becomes that the dialogue is awkward and there are just some things that don’t make sense. There is some nightmare logic, but I can only take that so far. The acting is subpar. There are some good effects and cinematography along with a solid soundtrack. It is still just below average for me.
My Rating: 4.5 out of 10