Critics be damned. Troll is an imaginative, fun movie with a slice of horror served on the side. John Carl Buechler, the same puppeteer who brought us the dazzling creatures in Ghoulies (1985), gives us another dose of his wicked imagination. A singing mushroom, fairies and little slimy things make the viewer smile with delight. It's one crazy world he creates and I, for one, am glad he decided to share his talents with us. Buechler also did the directing and writing on this project so this really is his show.
Where Troll falls short is in terms of its actors whose performances are inconsistent and, at times, downright awful. The two kids at center screen are Wendy Anne Potter (Jenny Beck) and Harry Potter, Jr. (Noah Hathaway). Beck is the stronger of the two in terms of acting, especially when the troll inhabits her body. Her crazy, over the top performance in these moments is funny and enjoyable. Hathaway, who previously starred in The Never Ending Story (1984) is O.K. but nothing special. Furthermore, there are some lines he delivers horribly in important emotional scenes. It's cringe-worthy at times.
The better actors in the bunch are June Lockhart [Lost in Space] as Eunice St. Clair, the witch. Her expressive eyes and energetic spirit form one of the emotional centerpieces of this film. Phil Fondacaro who plays the dual roles of Malcolm and Torok the Troll is especially fabulous as the troll. In spite of all the heavy prosthetic make-up, Fondacaro makes Torok come alive and completely captures the troll's menacing and mischievous presence. As an added bonus, Sonny Bono has a small role as neighbor Peter Dickinson. He essentially plays himself but delivers the laughs time and time again.
If you're looking for a scary movie, this is not it. If you're looking for lots of fun, imagination and a twisted sense of humor then Toll is your movie. Don't pay attention to its rating on IMDB. Give this one a chance.
RATING: Very Good.
For more info check out the film's entry in IMDB.