The cult following for the film Troll 2 has always perplexed me. There are lots of lousy movies in the world, after all. What makes this one so special? And doesn't enjoying something ironically get old after a while? (I'm not a fan of that thing hipsters do where something terrible is described as "awesome.")
But I am nothing if not eager to learn, so I took in a double feature Saturday night at South By Southwest. First up was Best Worst Movie, a highly entertaining documentary about the Troll 2 phenomenon, directed by Michael Stephenson, who as a young boy starred in the film. The doc prepared me for a screening of Troll 2 itself, which took place at midnight at the Alamo Drafthouse and was populated mostly -- they asked for a show of hands -- by Troll 2 virgins such as myself. That was nice, actually, because it meant there weren't a lot of people shouting the lines along with the movie, which is always a sure way to prevent newbies from enjoying something.
The verdict? Troll 2 is a singular piece of work. I assumed it would be bad, of course, but it's almost impossible to describe its badness to someone who hasn't seen it. You seldom see a real movie in which none of the actors actually knows how to act, but here it is. Nearly every reading of every line of dialogue is flat-out wrong, and the dialogue itself, as written, is impossibly bad, as if written by non-English-speakers (which it was) and translated by a computer (which it may well have been). There were times when it seemed like a parody of bad movies, like something you'd see on Tim & Eric Awesome Show Great Job.