Today’s Experiment: Troll 2
Why I Wouldn’t Ordinarily Watch it: I’ve heard Troll 2 described as the worst film ever made, and I usually don’t have interest in wasting time on garbage. I saw this famous YouTube clip and figured that was enough.
Why I Gave it a Chance: In order to fully appreciate good filmmaking, one must subject himself to bad filmmaking. Otherwise, how will we know the difference?
Review: When one considers all the films that “must be seen” by film aficionados, many famous titles come to mind. Citizen Kane is a must-see film, as is The Godfather and Gone with the Wind. These films are used by college classes as tools to teach impressionable students about all the great ways to make a movie. But I propose that all these classes should dedicate one day of discussion to another film that can single-handedly show the difference between a good and bad movie. That film is Troll 2, the best worst movie I have ever seen.
Troll 2 is a collapsing failure of a film. There is absolutely nothing redeeming to be found in between the beginning and end credits in terms of cinematic integrity. The calamity begins with the plot, which will make you scratch your head so much your skull may be showing afterward. The Waits family travels to a spooky town called Nilbog (which totally isn’t Goblin spelled backwards) for vacation. The inhabitants of the small town turn out to be goblins (oh, look, that’s Nilbog spelled backwards!) disguised as humans. The goblins feed tourists a strange, unnaturally green food which turns them into plants, because the goblins are vegetarians and won’t eat people when they are still meat. Or something. I really don’t know; it really wasn’t explained well. Why couldn’t the goblins just eat plants? Ugh, never mind. So, Joshua must protect his family from being turned into plants and then eaten. Oh, and Joshua sees and speaks to his dead grandfather throughout the film. So, there’s that.
There’s no way to explain that synopsis without decaying into babbling nonsense, so I apologize if that got a little abstract. With such a terrible plot, it’s not surprising that every other aspect of the film is equally as appalling. I’d rank the acting in Troll 2 alongside the legendary performances soccer players put on when they drop to the ground and pretend to be hurt. I’ve heard more convincing line delivery from an automated call services menu. If you ran a mediocre script through an online translator to Chinese and then converted it from Chinese back to English, you’d produce a better script than this. The editing is flat, the direction is dull, and the music is laughable. Nothing is explained, and some plotlines are completely ignored in the final act. Troll 2 is a film that seems like it was specifically designed to teach you how not to make a movie. Yet, I love it.
In all honesty, I love Troll 2, and I’m not the only one. This film has accrued a cult following in recent years not just because it is a bad film, but because it’s so bad that every moment of it is entertaining. Bad films come out all the time which are simply unwatchable and useless (the recent Conan the Barbarian film springs to mind), but not all of them achieve “so bad it’s good” status. Troll 2 is the benchmark for “so bad it’s good,” because it was bad in all the right ways. Some films aren’t good because they just don’t do anything particularly memorable with their material. But Troll 2 is scene after scene of the most ridiculous, off-the-wall insanity ever conceived. Just when you see one thing that makes you say, “I can’t believe I just saw that,” something else comes along that makes you say it again, but louder.
Greatness comes in many forms, and credit must be given to Troll 2 for being a great film. Never in my life have I experienced a film that was so great at being bad. Most bad movies bog you down and make you stare up at the ceiling, mouth agape, hoping for that sweet moment that the credits will roll and end your misery. Troll 2 never has that feeling, as it constantly keeps the audience guessing. You’ll feel a sincere desire to know what insane event will happen next, all the while learning about how to avoid poor filmmaking. Troll 2 is the Citizen Kane of horrible movies, a unique event that is enjoyed all the more in the company of friends.
My Rating: Despite the fact that Troll 2 is an endlessly entertaining film for all the wrong reasons, I can’t in good conscience give it a higher grade. (0/10)