Case Number 19918: Small Claims Court


MGM // 1991 // 95 Minutes // Rated PG-13
Reviewed by Judge Patrick Naugle // October 15th, 2010

The Charge

Troll 2: where terrible filmmaking meets terrible viewing experience.

The Case

The Waits family wants a nice vacation. All they're going to get is double the terror in Troll 2! When the Waits (led by George Handy) enter a small town for some rest and relaxation they get more than they bargained for from the cowpoke townfolk. In fact, what the Waits family gets is a group of pugnacious, drooling goblins who are hungry for their next meal...the Waits! The only one who seems to know the way out of this calamity is little Joshua (Michael Stephenson), who uses a bologna sandwich to help defeat the vile demonic ghouls. Yup, he uses a lunch meat to defeat the goblins. A LUNCH MEAT. And that little tidbit should tell you just about everything you need to know about Troll 2.

To misquote a popular children's book, Troll 2 is a terrible, horrible, no good very bad movie. The movie has gained quite a cult following for being an ineptly produced, shoddily filmed quasi-sequel to the original Troll (which itself looks like Sunset Boulevard by comparison and that starred Sonny freakin' Bono). You want filmmaking on a level reserved only for your inner Ed Wood? Welcome to Troll 2.

Everything you've heard about this movie is true. The acting is awesomely amateurish, as if the director raided a local community college to find as many acting rejects as humanly possible. Honestly, not a single person in this cast has any right to be in front of a film camera and may even want to avoid a digital camera at a family reunion. Everyone in the cast is either terrible (George Handy as the beefcake family patriarch, Robert Ormsby as the deceased and dottering grandfather, Darren Ewing as one of the troll's moronic victims), uniformly forgettable (almost every child actor playing one of the goblins) or exists on a level of acting that hasn't even been discovered yet (Deborah Reed as a witch-like creature would make Stella Adler do cartwheels in her grave).

Then again you can't really do much on the acting front when you're given a screenplay that appears to have been written by a Spaniard, translated by a Frenchman, and printed out by a Japanese writer into a German/English hybrid. The entire movie is an incomprehensible mess of clichéd dialogue and speech patterns that appear to have been conceived by the love child of Mr. Bean and Roberto Benigni. The camera isn't capturing as much as witnessing the rape and mutilation of the medium of film. I've long since passed the state of wondering how movies like this get made; it is clear from watching Troll 2 that international director Claudio Fragasso was as insane as the investors that forked over the money to complete this turkey.

The special effects are so terrible that to call them 'special' is like saying Drain-o is safe for kids to drink -- you would be grossly mistaken. The goblins in the film (there are no actual trolls here despite the misleading title) are essentially dollar store Halloween masks, chintzy rubber monster hands and burlap sacks. The filmmakers didn't even go to the trouble to have the masks mouths move (save for the lead goblin). If you consider green lime Jell-O as a 'special effect,' you may think Troll 2 is the Avatar of horror sequels.

Does Troll 2 do anything right? Well, technically speaking it does: I am now inclined to see the documentary Best Worst Movie which was made by Michael Stephenson (who plays young Joshua in the movie). The documents the fan fever that has grown around Troll 2 and also interviews various cast and crew members associated with its production. I doubt it will excuse Troll 2, but maybe we'll at least get some context as to why it ended up being the dog turd it is.

Troll 2 is presented in 1080p widescreen in a 1.85:1 aspect ratio. Fans of the film will be happy to know that this Blu-ray is an upgrade from the older DVD release, but not by much -- the fact is that Troll 2 isn't a high gloss production, and that shows in this image. The colors and black levels are all fine though grain can be quite heavy at times. However, for what it's worth I have to admit that the clarity is defiantly heads and shoulders above the DVD release. I have the sneaking suspicion that MGM/Fox released this film on Blu-ray because of the release of Best Worst Movie, which may be why the best thing about this disc is the transfer.

The sound mix is presented in both 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio and Dolby Mono, both in English. The audio mix is mediocre at best. Although it appears you're getting a fancy 5.1 mix that's just not the case -- this is a very front heavy presentation with little in the way of surround sound (and what there is appears canned and forced). Also included are English, French and Spanish subtitles.

Here's where FOX/MGM really screws over the consumer: the only two supplements included with this set are A.) a theatrical trailer (which was included on the previous DVD version) and B.) a DVD copy of the film. If you're going to slap the words "20th Anniversary Nilbog Edition" on your product, you should damn well be sure to make it worth the consumer's time and money. And this isn't.

The Verdict

Had I seen Troll 2 as a kid I think it would have carved out a gooey spot in my heart (as many horror films have done). But I didn't see it as a kid and can only look at it from the vantage point of an adult with too much to do and too little time to do it. And Troll 2 doesn't make that list.

Review content copyright © 2010 Patrick Naugle; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2016 HipClick Designs LLC

Scales of Justice
Judgment: 55

Perp Profile
Studio: MGM
Video Formats:
* 1.85:1 Non-Anamorphic (1080p)

Audio Formats:
* DTS HD 5.1 Master Audio (English)
* DTS HD 2.0 Mono (English)

* English
* French
* Spanish

Running Time: 95 Minutes
Release Year: 1991
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13

Distinguishing Marks
* Theatrical Trailer
* DVD Copy

* IMDb