Along with many other things, the '80s were known for giving us some cheaply-made movies with more ambition than technological capabilities. 'Troll' was a movie that kind of fits this mold.
The Potter family moves into a new apartment. Right away, their daughter Wendy (Jenny Beck) is attacked by a troll who possesses her. Wendy begins to act strangely but her brother Harry (Noah Hathaway, yes he is playing Harry Potter) seems to be the only one who truly notices that something is wrong.
Eunice St. Clair (June Lockhart) is the strange old woman who lives upstairs. When Harry seeks her advice, she reveals that she is a witch. The troll was once the love of Eunice's life in a magical hidden world, hundreds of years ago. He was a powerful wizard named Torok who was transformed after being on the wrong side of a massive war. Now, he is trying to assemble an army to reclaim the long-lost land. Eunice has dedicated her life to stopping him.
Will Harry Potter be able to stop Torok? Will he be able to save his sister and the other tenants of the apartment?
The special effects are very questionable. It is no wonder that the Bands (Charles Band is the head honcho of Full Moon Features, and the mind behind the 'Puppet Master' series) were heavily involved in this. Most of the little creatures are obviously little hand-operated puppets. These are some simple (sometimes downright cheap) designs with a few being a little cute while many of them are a tad creepy. It wouldn't be unreasonable to look for some tonal similarities to 'Gremlins.' The attempts at humor are less successful here than they were in that particular movie. At least the whole production doesn't seem to take itself too seriously.
This is merely a production with a limited budget and limited resources in terms of the quality of material and performances. For a fantasy, this has a very set-bound feel. When characters are exploring the forest, it seems as though they are walking in circles hide the spatial limitations. What else would you expect from director John Carl Buechler, a man who would go on to helm 'Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood' (his career highlight) only a few years later?
As you should expect, the acting is quite bad. Keep an eye out for a young Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Sonny Bono. Perhaps the only actor who should be happy with this film could be Phil Fondacaro who pulls double duty as an important character in the real world and Torok.
Special features include: none.
'Troll' is just a harmlessly bad '80s fantasy movie. It tends to get forgotten because the name 'Troll 2' looms large among cinematic failures.
The only reason you should even consider trying to track this down would be to have a laugh.
Add an extra half star to the rating.
Rated PG-13 82 minutes 1986