01st Jul2021

‘Cannibal Troll’ VOD Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Georgina Jane, Zuza Tehanu, Barbara Dabson, Faith Kiggundu, Nicole Nabi, Richard Harfst, Megan Purvis, Kate Sandison | Written by Scott Jeffrey | Directed by Scott Jeffrey, Rebecca Matthews

I’m going to sound like a broken record this week with not one but FOUR Scott Jeffrey film currently on the slate for review. This, Cannibal Troll, is the second of the week and harkens back to the more basic era of Scott Jeffrey’s filmmaking – insomuch that this film is essentially a basic slasher movie retread with a troll as its antagonist rather than a deranged maniac! There’s also, given the use of the word ‘cannibal’ in the title, a nod to the Texas Chainsaw Massacre franchise, with the troll seemingly building a “family” of victims, not killing them – or eating them as the title would suggest – but rather having them around his home, keeping them alive for some (not clearly explained) reason.

Cannibal Troll follows a group of friends, who count among them Jeffrey regulars Megan Purvis (Medusa, Rise of the Mummy, Conjuring the Genie), Georgina Jane (Cupid, Don’t Speak, Pet Graveyard), Barbara Dabson (The Candy Witch, Witches of Amityville, Rise of the Mummy), Nicole Nabi (Medusa, The Leprechaun’s Game), and Kate Sandison (Dinosaur Hotel, Conjuring the Genie, Medusa); along with Faith Kiggundu who appeared in Louisa Warren’s The Leprechaun’s Game picking up another starring role here. Meanwhile, under the rather fantastic troll costume is Zuza Tehanu, an actress who has appeared in a number of Louisa Warren films: The Viking War, The Mermaids Curse and The Leprechaun’s Game; as well as the Jeffrey-produced Rise of the Mummy

So why am I spelling out what films each and every actress in this film has previously appeared in? Well I find it astonishing that a) Scott Jeffrey seems to be the ONLY current UK genre producer who is packing his films with women – diverse women may I add. And the fact he seems to be loyal to these performers, casting them in films over and over again. In fact the way in which Jeffrey, along with collaborators Louisa Warren, Rebecca Matthews and Antonia Johnstone seem to work, with a stable of performers that rotate around roles big and small in their productions, is very reminiscent of the old studio system – the system that gave us the Universal Monsters and Hammer Horror that we know and love.

Now one couldn’t possibly compare the output of Champdog Films, Proportion Productions or Jagged Edge Productions to Hammer horror without complete derision from snobbish horror fans who love “elevated horror” and decry low-budget indie productions such as these. But you cannot deny that what Jeffrey and co. are doing is a long-standing tradition in the genre. Plus, he’s at least getting more British-made horror out there than most of the UK industry put together. However, I have to think that given the recent appearance of Cannibal Troll, Dinosaur Hotel, Tooth Fairy 3 and Conjuring the Genie online on the likes of YouTube BEFORE getting a physical media release would suggest that it’s maybe time to slow down production and put more money into less films..? After all, a quick count on IMDb sees Jeffrey slated to have at LEAST eighteeen(!) films produced and released this year alone!

But back to Cannibal Troll; and back to THAT troll costume. Where did that come from? Looking miles away from the likes of the make-up effects of Cupid and The Leprechaun’s Game (both of which share the very similar stalk-and-slash filmmaking template), the creature effects of Cannibal Troll are superb. There’s an old-school vibe to the way the troll looks, reminding me very much of the monster in the 1997 Stephen King adaptation The Night Flyer, eschewing the camp nature of the some of the creature work in these kinds of genre productions and aiming squarely for actually making this troll look terrifying, probably because the concept of a killer troll running around the woods after a bunch of twenty-somethings is camp enough in itself. The only thing lacking with this killer are the kills themselves – honestly, a little more gore could’ve gone a long way to put this one over the top.

In the end Cannibal Troll is a fun slice of stalk and slash horror that homages a myriad of films that have come before without ever feeling derivative. Plus what’s not to love about a film featuring a troll who’s seemingly experienced in the art of human midwifery?!

***½  3.5/5

Cannibal Troll is available to stream online now.


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