Troll 2 has been named by IMDb as the worst movie ever made. It holds a 0% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and even its greatest admirers say it’s bad “by every conceivable measure”. Yet it retains a small cult following in the US, thanks to its reputation. This documentary follows some of its cast and crew as they attend special screenings and meet the film’s fans.
The idea of a film being so bad it’s good is an interesting one. There’s certainly a large enough number of people out there that love crap movies. And they’ve helped make the careers of the likes of Tommy Wiseau and Sam Raimi. I recently reviewed Rock and Roll’s Greatest Failure, about cult musician John Otway, who enjoys a similar level of minor celebrity, thanks to his catastrophic early work. People are attracted to disaster and failure.
This documentary will be better enjoyed by those who have already seen Troll 2, who can relate to the ecstatic fandom that is enough to pack out several small screenings of this movie a year. For the uninitiated – that is, nearly everyone – it’s less entertaining. There’s just not enough going on here to warrant a feature length movie.
Its focus is on one of the film’s stars, George Hardy, now working as a dentist. In fact, he was working as a dentist when Troll 2 was made as well. Hardy seems to be one of the happiest, most fulfilled people in the world, and enjoys his moment in the sun, but is also content with the life he leads, and reluctant to become a full time has-been. In one scene he meets the stars of Nightmare on Elm Street 5 at a horror convention and reflects on how they’re living in the past. He’s incredibly likeable, and a good choice as this film’s main subject, but also not really interesting enough to beef up this sparse documentary.
It does provide some interesting insight into how a bad film like this comes about. It’s not the product of lazy, greedy Hollywood executives like most of the rubbish we’ve reviewed here. No, it’s the result of a completely barmy Italian director who couldn’t communicate with his cast and had no idea how to make a film. He and his wife are the only people in this film who don’t acknowledge that Troll 2 is rubbish, swearing by it to the end. He seems to take offence at how funny people find it, and objects to the actors’ stories that they weren’t given full scripts. His wife, the film’s writer, claims it was a comment on vegetarianism with equal sincerity.
Troll 2 isn’t a cynical mess like, say, Chernobyl Diaries, but an earnestly made film, assembled on a shoestring budget by people who had no idea what they were doing, like my personal cult fave Hercules in New York. The Best Worst Movie is similarly motivated by genuine enthusiasm, and while far from the worst documentary ever, it commits a sin even Troll 2 failed to, and is middle of the road. This film is just not insightful enough to warrant its own existence. It will please fans of Troll 2, but won’t invest anyone else with a similar joy. Like Troll 2.