Troll 2 (1990) Review

Spoiler-free so you can read before you watch

Troll 2 (1990) Review

Horrorific content by Jessica Gomez on March 20th, 2021 | Movie Review | Comedy, Sci-Fi, Creature, B-Horror

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A young child is terrified to discover that a planned family trip is to be haunted by vile plant-eating monsters out of his worst nightmare.

Troll 2 was directed by Claudio Fragasso (Beyond Darkness and Rats) and stars Michael Stephenson, George Hardy, Deborah Reed and Jason Wright.

The original boogeyman is back

Troll 2 Review

I’ve seen my share of bad horror movies, from the ultra low-budget to the nonsensical, because they’re usually pretty fun to watch. But every once in a while, a movie comes along that requires constant pausing and rewinding just so your mind can wrap itself around a piece of cinema so insane that it seems impossible to have actually been made. A movie so captivatingly off-the-wall that you must pass it on to feel well again ala It Follows.

From conception to completion, Troll 2 is batshit crazy.

In 1986, horror comedy Troll had mediocre box office success and was given mostly unfavorable reviews. Then along came Troll 2 in 1990 from Italian director Claudio Fragasso...but there is zero connection between the two. Not in plot. Not in characters. Not in any realm of possibility. In fact, the word “troll” is never so much as uttered - the antagonists are called Goblins, the original title of the film. But the producers and distributors were so (rightfully) worried about its chance to succeed that they changed the name and marketed it as a sequel to Troll. Let me reiterate: they were so sure that the film was going to bomb that they hitched it to a movie it had no connection to, that got bad reviews, in case it could somehow help. It did not.

Let’s start at the beginning. Fragasso (under the pseudonym Drake Floyd) co-wrote this movie with his wife as a sort of revenge against/ode to their bitterness toward vegetarians. (As a vegetarian myself, this was extra fun to watch.) The plot goes like this: young Joshua’s (Michael Stephenson) grandfather tells him stories about vegetarian goblins who live in the forest. They trick people into eating some kind of green sludge that turns them into half plant, half human, so that the goblins can eat them. (Not really vegetarian, but that’s the least of this movie’s problems.) Some time goes by and we learn that Joshua’s grandfather has died, but Joshua still sees visions of him akin to The Wizard in The Wizard of Oz. Joshua’s parents and sister are all ready to go on a vacation to a remote town called Nilbog (guess what it spells backwards!?) where they pull the original The Holiday and switch homes, but Joshua’s grandfather warns him against the trip. When they arrive in Nilbog, the town is pretty empty, save for a few weird locals. But they’re not locals! They are goblins in disguise! Only Joshua, via his dead grandfather, understands that the family is in trouble. The bright green food - like, shamrock green - that strangers are trying to force feed the family is apparently not a red flag. Then his grandfather, whose supernatural capabilities are seemingly endless, decides to stop time (but only for 30 seconds!) to let Joshua think of something to stop his family from eating a bunch of green treats that will turn them all into plants. His idea is truly unbelievable and I won’t ruin it for you.

Meanwhile, Joshua’s teenage sister Holly is in a rush to lose her virginity, but all her boyfriend wants to do is hang out with his friends! (When he’s not making homophobic remarks.) This is an unresolved plot point that literally had nothing to do with anything except they needed some extra bodies available so the goblins could kill people other than the family, so Holly’s boyfriend and his friends take a camper and tag along on their vacay. There is a popcorn scene between one of the friends and the theatrical mother of the goblins - who has ties to Stonehenge? - that is so outrageous but also has no meaning. Nothing really means anything, here.

There are so many scenes where you think the goblins are going to be faster or smarter or...something? But the family is easily able to escape. The goblins are never really doing much of anything except standing around. Yet, they keep coming...except when Joshua devours a BOLOGNA SANDWICH! The key to everlasting life!

I’ll give this movie one thing - the effects aren’t the worst I’ve ever seen in a low-budget feature - though they certainly aren’t realistic or effectively scary or really accomplishing anything but making you laugh, most notably in the half-tree/half-people scenes. The goblins, when you can’t tell they’re costume masks, look creepy, except for one - who is so ridiculous looking that he’s become a meme. Every time you see the goblins grouped together your eye immediately goes to him and it’s hard not to lose your mind in laughter.

The acting is something to behold. Most of the roles went to locals on location in Utah who answered a casting call and never did another movie. I think many of them were reading from cue cards. I thought the mom was possessed or a goblin or something but she was just really that bad of an actor. The best in the bunch was a dentist in real life. The film’s most iconic line: “They’re eating her! ...And then they’re gonna eat me! Oh my God!” Which seems so simple but trust me when I say you’re going to rewatch it no less than 10 times. The lack of any professional actors on set should tell you enough, but what if I told you that the entire crew spoke only Italian and the entire cast spoke only English? How about that one of the actors with a memorable speaking role was actually a mental patient who was on a day trip? BAM - we’ve got ourselves a MOVIE.

Was this a fever dream? Did I actually watch this? Fragasso tried to save face after its terrible reviews by saying Troll 2 was always intended to be a comedy, but it’s obvious which parts were supposed to be comedic; most of it was intended to be scary. I guess you could say it was, just not in the way that it was intended to be.

Worth Watching?

This movie was so bad, yet I find myself not able to get enough of it. Perhaps I’ve been secretly injected with chlorophyll. Next on my watchlist is Michael Stephenson’s documentary of the film, Best Worst Movie. And now, my friends, I pass it along to you. Watch it immediately.

Troll 2 Review (1990) Worth Watching? - ALL HORROR Tweet it

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