"I take orders from the Octoboss."


tn_trollhunterTROLLHUNTER starts out exactly like any one of these post-BLAIR WITCH fakumentaries: 3 somewhat obnoxious college kids are making a documentary (about a bear poacher?) when they stumble across something scary (a troll) and shine some lights and cameras around the woods at night getting spooked by sounds and shadows. So it’s first time actors pretending to be non-actors trying to catch something on tape and we’re supposed to sit at home watching it and pretending we think it’s real so we can be scared if they “happen” to catch something scary blurred out on the camera for like 2 seconds.

Do you guys remember, they used to make low budget horror movies and they were still real movies with scripts and tripods and everything. It seems like if Sam Raimi started today then THE EVIL DEAD would be about Bruce Campbell going around in the woods with a video camera, and at the end he almost sees a Deadite but the tape ends. If James Cameron started today then Sarah Connor would be making a documentary about time travel and only at the end would she catch a quick glimpse of Arnold. If George Romero started today, NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD would be DIARY OF THE DEAD. This era sucks.

I kind of hated these kids, they’re following around this poor hunter guy that tells them like six times to leave him alone. And they keep spying on him because they think he hunted a bear without a license. A half an hour in they finally see what he’s really hunting and it’s a hilarious looking 3 headed troll. I thought it was great but I still almost turned it off because I figured okay, I get the joke, it’s exactly like all the other movies exactly like this except instead of an occasional ghostly apparition it’ll be an occasional funny troll guy.

mp_trollhunterWell I’m glad I kept going because although they should’ve cut that opening half hour down to 1-2 minutes of explanation it gets much better when they ditch that bullshit and the guy admits he’s a troll hunter for the Norwegian government.  We learn about the different types of trolls, the ways to trick them, the ways to kill them, the ways the government covers up their existence. There are all these rules about trolls, for example they can “smell the blood of a Christian man,” so the kids have to keep swearing to the hunter that they don’t believe in Jesus. And when they get a new camerawoman who’s a Muslim they’re not even sure if that works or not, it’s never come up before.

There’s a troll that hangs out under a bridge. There’s a PROJECT GRIZZLY-ish troll protection suit. Also it turns out that trolls are really, really stupid and that they like to piss all over everything.

It’s an absurd concept treated seriously. The hunter is very droll and casual about it all. The funny parts are well timed. There are some good character moments like after the first troll attack when the girl is just giggling gleefully about the idea that trolls really exist. Then later everybody gets uncomfortable when she’s losing it so much that she makes fun of the other people for believing in trolls.

The effects are excellent. The designs of the trolls are really cartoony, but then they make them look real. I believe it’s all digital, and they’re much bigger than guy-in-a-costume size. You see them a bunch, too. It’s not like they’re always on screen, but you see them quite a few times and sometimes for long stretches. For example the humans get stuck in a cave while some big-nosed fuckers are sleeping. Sure, alot of the scenes are written around what they could do for free (for example drive around pointing at electric towers and claiming that they’re really an electric fence to keep giant trolls contained) but it definitely gives you more to look at and enjoy than your standard fakumentary horror. I’m sure it’s probly a much lower budget than CLOVERFIELD, but it’s more comparable to that type of approach – an effects movie from the point of view of some kids with cameras, instead of (SPOILER FOR ABOUT 35 DIFFERENT MOVIES) some kids with cameras who see one very small glimpse of something at the end right before the tape ends.

Although I think TROLLHUNTER could’ve been finessed into something even stronger I do think it’s a very clever and entertaining movie that adds something unique into a worn out subgenre, and even does Norway proud by using mythology specific to their part of the world. It’s a pretty good movie.

I’m sure if they had finished their documentary about bear poaching it would’ve been pretty good too.

This entry was posted on Saturday, September 3rd, 2011 at 12:08 pm and is filed under Horror, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

46 Responses to “Trollhunter”

  1. Ha! I was having a drink with some friends last night, one of them said he’d started watching this and switched it off almost immediately, saying it was just a load of Blair Witch shit. Shame he didn’t stick it out, he loves trolls and ogres and all that shit!

  2. Hey, I just bought this one! Will try and watch it soon so I can post something on it. Sounds decent from the review though.

  3. I think the fact that the film has such a great sense of humor is what really makes it work. The scene of the bridge had me laughing my ass off.

    Of course I’m always a sucker for characters who are matter-of-fact in the face of otherwise fantastic situations (like that S.H.I.E.L.D agent in all the Marvel movies)
    It really balanced the usual scenes of everyone in losing their shit to have a guy who was completely unfazed by any of it. The weariness in the Troll Hunter’s body as he trudged up to the giant in the field was perfect.

    Plus it seemed perfectly logical that someone would keep filming this. If you are trapped with zombies drop the fucking camera but the trolls are presented as unique animals. If people swim with sharks they sure as shit would follow trolls around.

  4. As a scandinavian i approve of the use of the troll lore that exists up here and this movie was a big surprise to me. As many people i was at first appalled of it´s Blair witchy approach, but the funny part is while I was watching the movie i almost started to believe that trolls truly exists because of how immersed i was. The only gripe I have with it when they are explaining the trolls scienmtifically like the vampires in Blade and still insist on bringing in religion.

  5. Oh yeah the trolls are not presented as monsters but more like an unique species. That is pretty cool

  6. Sonny Bono made it look like a bad thing to be turned into a tree. The world may have forgotten about about Troll but the trees sure as fuck didn’t.

  7. I like low budgets like Evil Dead. Anything with Bruce Campbell for that matter.

    I don’t like movies like Blair witch though. i want to see some damn blood and guts! not some punk kids moving around in the woods and getting spooked by sounds that are actually very normal for a forest.

    Not that they would know that because they grew up in a city with parents that were too busy or lazy to take them camping, and the closest they’ve ever come to an actual forest is when they went to the zoo on their 6th grade field trip.

    Guess I’ll give this movie a try. I could used a good laugh.

  8. Like Vern, I support horror movies that use tripods (which is why I’m trying to see BLOOD SHOT @ http://atlantahorrorfilmfest.com/schedule.html ), but I’ll give TROLLHUNTER a chance someday.

    I like the refreshing idea of a world in which Christians are in the minority. Good job, you wacky Norwayese filmatists.

  9. “I like the refreshing idea of a world in which Christians are in the minority.”

    I lol’d

  10. Evil Dead was the first thing I thought of when Blair Witch came out. So now you can go into the woods and shoot a bundle of sticks and a pile of rocks and call it a movie? I liked the Cloverfield approach of doing that style as a real movie, but the format didn’t really grow on me until Paranormal Activity 2 started creating an actual mythology for the story.

    I was with Trollhunter all the way from the beginning. I got the spoof even before they showed the troll so I was down.

  11. I’m not against Christianity or anything it’s just that I think that I’m against any religion that throws itself at you like a serial killer hacking at a victim.

  12. Can you imagine how much a found footage martial arts movie would suck?

  13. well speaking of found footage flicks, it looks like that Apollo 18 movie sucks

    that’s really too bad, the premise held a lot of potential

  14. Hmm, I seem to hear that one person kind of dug Apollo 18, though he’s been the punching bag of Twitter this weekend.

  15. I’m waiting for someone to make a found footage vampire movie, because it would save them money as vampires can be depicted as not showing up on film. So instead the money can be spent on awesome voice actors for the invisible bloodsuckers.

  16. Also the vampires will do kung fu and they will be naked.

  17. These naked invisible kung-fu vampires would of course be played by Jessica Alba, Scarlett Johansson, Zooey Deschanel, Anna Faris, Katy Perry, and a time traveling Grace Kelly.

  18. Don’t forget fellow time-traveling kung fuers 1998 Catherine Zeta-Jones, 2002 Gabrielle Union, 1968 Jane Fonda, 2015 Natalie Portman, and 1970 Catherine Deneuve.

  19. I’ve just seen Trollhunter and didn’t like it very much. It was nice to see a found footage movie that showed a beautiful landscape instead of a dark wood and I also liked that they used such unique monsters with the trolls.

    But my expererience while watching this was nearly the opposite of Vern’s. After the first half hour of exposition (that are in my opinion quite intriguing) they follow the Trollhunter and hunt trolls. That’s the story. No drama, no character development, no goal for the protagonist (I even don’t think there is a protagonist), just driving around and hunting trolls.

    That’s a great idea for a short film, but pretty boring as a movie. Sometimes the hunt turned out to be quite tense and atmospheric or funny. But without a gripping narrative, it falls apart in feature length.

    Cloverfield is in my opinion a far superior movie. With it’s relatable characters, solid narrative, impressive visuals and the most original use of the found footage concept (the over-written tape with scenes of the happy protagonists for example) it’s for me the only found footage film I really liked as a movie, not only as a concept.

    I also don’t think that it’s an achievement for Trollhunters to show more of the monsters than other found footage films. The limited viewpoint of filming protagonists is a variation of the old and in my opinion brilliant concept that you shouldn’t overexpose your monster and develop a build-up to a powerful finale. Here it’s more the video game logic that next troll is larger.

    I liked all of the elements Vern mentioned, for example the question if the trolls can sense the new camerawoman who’s a Muslim. But as many good ideas that are thrown at you in this film, they never mention it again and never use it in any form.

    But in comparison to most found footage films it’s pretty good. It’s sad that most of the filmmakers that use the found footage idea just do it to justify lazy filmmaking.

  20. Rudolf Klein-Rogge

    September 4th, 2011 at 1:48 am

    Mouth: God knows Christopher Lambert is due for another genre-hit, but Blood Shot looks pretty terrible (not to mention INCREDIBLY cheap). Please let me know how it turns out…

  21. Marlow – you realise you’re proposing a film where Jessica Alba can be constantly heard, but never seen? To me that sounds like as good a description of movie-hell as I’ve ever come across…

  22. You gotta pay the troll toll, if you wanna get in that boy’s hole
    You gotta pay the troll toll to get in!
    You want the baby boy’s hole, you gotta pay the troll toll
    You gotta pay the troll toll to get in!
    Troll toll! What you say!
    Troll toll! Hey hey hey!
    Troll toll!

  23. And I didn’t even mention the scene where they all have the invisible pillow fight on the bouncy castle…

    Speaking of 1970 Catherine Deneuve, thank god for Belle de Jour.

  24. When you make a film about Norwegian trolls you got have that line about smelling Christian man’s blood because it was in every troll fairy tale we heard when we was kids.

    I don’t understand why they made this a found footage film, and then cast a bunch of well known Norwegian comedians. Like the troll hunter is probably the most well known Norwegian comedian, and one of the funniest with his dead pan delivery, and then in the first 30 minutes all the other big speaking parts are played also by well known comedians that I guess tell you what tone it’s going for. But of course it’s something only Norwegians get.

    I think the found footage clashes with the casting of well known comedians in support roles and as the troll hunter.

  25. Why were you told so many scary troll fairy tales as children, Ghost? Do all Norwegian parents take the Tiger Mom approach and try to scare & traumatize their kids? I’m about to call DSS on your whole country.

    In the US, we sanitize our fairy tales; we bastardize our Hans Christian Anderson & Brothers Grimm stories to make them palatable. And Christians always win because “Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.” And we know this because He’s the Guy who got nails put in His wrist and got stabbed and wore a thorn hat and died of bloody asphyxiation. You know, a good wholesome Sunday morning story for the whole family, not like your freaky troll tales.

    The only scary tale I recall from my early youth was something about a guy with a hook for a hand that somehow ends up on my car window or something.

  26. And then we all get together on Sundays and eat the poor guy. That’s just good storytelling. I believe the director’s cut of E.T. ended that way.

  27. Rudolf Klein-Rogge

    September 4th, 2011 at 11:14 am

    Many of the fairy tales us Norwegians are told by children were collected and written down by Peter Christen Asbjørnsen and Jørgen Moe – generally known as Asbjørnsen and Moe – who wandered the Norwegian earth collecting fairy tales told to them by various farmers etc, ie people they encountered on their journeys. Several of these were about trolls (many of them were erotic fairy tales as well, but my parents never read those to me, nor did any of my teachers…). Several of the Asbjørnsen and Moe fairy tales have been illustrated by Theodor Kittelsen, and his troll drawings have alot in common with the trolls seen in “Troll Hunter”. Some examples: http://www.google.no/search?q=theodor+kittelsen+troll&hl=nn&client=firefox-a&hs=loc&rls=org.mozilla:nn-NO:official&prmd=ivns&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=Y79jToMmhMezBrbbpZQK&ved=0CEwQsAQ&biw=1280&bih=573

  28. Rudolf Klein-Rogge

    September 4th, 2011 at 11:16 am

    Should obviously be “told as/when we were children”, not “told by children”

  29. Mouth –

    “The only scary tale I recall from my early youth was something about a guy with a hook for a hand that somehow ends up on my car window or something.”

    Oh, that wasn’t a fairy-tale, that was me trying to take out Abu Hamza with a Toyota Yaris. Just missed the fucker.

    Sorry for the confusion.

  30. For the benefit of certain people who don’t seem to “get” my sense of humour, I should perhaps clarify that the last post was meant as a joke, and that I am in fact NOT in the habit of trying to commit vehicular homicide of radical fundamentalist clerics with grannywagons.

  31. So you want to be our new A-Team’s driver, Paul? Shit man, I don’t know, we got Tawdry as Face, Jake is our camera guy & PR man, Majestyk’s our resident tranny/diversion/disguises guy, Vern is Splinter to our TMNT squad, and I already look good chomping on a stogie and can already fly a helicopter, so those wouldn’t be necessary extra skills for you as the wheelman. And I’m not sure you’re intimidating enough to pity any fools, so. . . alright, we got your resume here, and, uh, we’ll give you a call if something comes up.

  32. Are you any good with nunchaku, Griff? No?

    Um, you can be the guy who answers our phone calls for us and tells people our alibi when we’re really out secretly dominating the world. Remember, I’m not out planting underwater demolition packages at a mob don’s beach house; I’m in the shower.

  33. so I’m like Janine? do I have to dress like an 80’s secretary?

  34. Mouth, if your still casting……im not sure. i want to be one of those guys in the orange jump-suits carrying an UZI who runs out with the rest of my squadron on the press of an encased red button in the control room. You then have free reign to shoot me. Cos I sure is hell wont be able to hit you, for some fucking reason…

  35. Saw this in the theater last night and loved it. Even though I’d read Vern’s review and knew it got better, that first half hour still tested my patience a bit, but after that, fantastic. Not sure if my favourite was the bridge one or the one with the Polish guys, the latter being funny for me as there was some actual Polish guys seated behind me I could hear talking through the earlier parts of the film, so I was wondering how they felt about the portrayal. I also liked the hints of Hans’ relationship with the Vet, and Tomas’ goofy expression when he finds out about it. Also, the “No Trolls were harmed in the making of this movie” disclaimer at the end.

  36. Ok, just got back from my arts cinema after seeing this one. So…

    – Stu loved it, with the possible exception of the first half-hour. He also loved the scene with the vet (spoiler for my own review, but so did I.)
    – Vern also thought the first half-hour dragged, but loved the rest.
    – Andreas didn’t think it was as good as Cloverfield.
    – Fred liked it.
    – I like movies like “Blair Witch” and “Cloverfield”. I also very much liked “Troll Hunter”, but I have a couple of HUGE problems with it.

    More in a sec, ’cause I don’t want to make one massive post so I’m gonna split this one up.



    Ok then, here we go.

    – I didn’t agree with Vern and Stu about the opening. I thought it was important to establish the main characters and how they came to be in the middle of the woods with a guy who hunts trolls. I thought it worked, maybe could’ve been shortened a little, but did a good job of foreshadowing some of the events later on in the movie.

    – I also liked most of the movie. The little character-bits (the scene with the vet that Stu mentioned springs to mind here) were great. The trolls, I thought, were fantastic. Large parts of it were very tense. There’s a lot of character-based humour in the movie, most of which works well. The “found footage” gimmick worked for the most part, although there were a few too many “roof shots” or “tree shots” where the camera is self-consciously “left” pointing at something innocuous while we hear the action in the background. Y’know, just to make sure the audience doesn’t forget that this is “real”. But then that’s largely a matter of taste. (A lot of people had problems with “Cloverfield” because the camera somehow always pointed at the action, but I thought it worked better than “Troll Hunter” did.)

    Two massive problems I had with the movie – and both include egregious spoilers. Seriously, don’t fucking read this if you haven’t seen the movies I mentioned above.

    Got that? Good.

    First problem: the cameraman. In both “Blair Witch” and “Cloverfield”, the cameraman has his/her own distinct personality. Hell, in “Cloverfield” the guy holding the camera – who you hardly ever see – is probably the best character in the entire movie. In “Troll Hunter” there’s a cameraman, who we know almost nothing about. We don’t know his relationship to the other two people. We don’t know if he’s paid to be here or whether he signed on as part of a joint project. We hardly ever see him or get his reactions to the events that unfold around him. There’s a “twist” where it’s revealed that he’s a Christian; but this is obvious simply because somebody has to be, and it’s plain enough that the other two aren’t. I couldn’t care less about him or his replacement. Considering he dies in what I presume is supposed to be a sad albeit hubris-infused moment, this is a major problem for me. Although not as much as…

    My second problem: the ending. And this is where the foreshadowing comes in, because when a certain character – who absolutely SHOULD NOT be in “Troll Hunter” – threatens the film crew and they promptly forget about him, I saw it coming. I thought: “Oh fuck, they’re going to do it THAT way. No. No. Do not do this. This will spoil the fucking movie for me.”

    And they did. Assholes.

    So what the makers of this film decided to do is make it crystal clear that THE REAL HORROR IS HUMANITY. You know, like they tried to do in “28 Days Later” when they tacked on the bit at the end with the squaddies – you know, the ABSOLUTE WORST part of that film by miles.

    And like they tried to do in Romero’s “Dawn of the Dead”, a film of which I love approximately 85% unreservedly, by having a random biker gang set all the zombies loose. Yep, it couldn’t even be the main characters’ own flaws that caused the destruction of their shopping-mall paradise; it had to be a fucking biker gang.

    (On a side note: seriously, what the FUCK Romero? What is it with my favorite horror movies losing it in the last twenty minutes? Isn’t Carpenter’s “The Thing”, and its “The thing transforms into giant easily-killable monster while all the confirmed humans decide to split up and make themselves easy targets” enough? Must Romero go and do this shit as well?)

    Look, there’s only one horror movie where the “humans are the real monsters” thing has EVER worked, and that’s “Night of the Living Dead”. And that’s because it’s all about racism in the deep South. There’s enough stuff going on in that movie to not only justify the bleak ending but make it inevitable. That’s why it fucking works.

    Anyway, back to “Troll Hunter”.

    So the asshole bureaucrat character makes some heavy-handed hints to the film crew that he’ll get rid of their footage early on. Then he does NOTHING about it, and lets them carry on filming the troll battles etc. Doesn’t try to buy them off, doesn’t try to threaten them off. Just lets them keep doing what they’re doing. Erm… sorry… What? The? Fuck? WHY is this guy even in the movie? What’s he supposed to be doing? And why is he doing it? I mean, I can understand why the tourism industry might not want people to know that there’s a great white shark out there (AKA “Jaws”), and how that could apply here… but it’s not even hinted that this is the reason. In fact the reason is NEVER given. Why doesn’t anybody know about this problem?

    Oh yeah… he’s setting up the predictable ending. Fuck. So OF COURSE he and his cronies swoop in at the end, after the final battle with the giant troll; and OF COURSE the filming stops while the bureaucrat is closing in on the film crew, and OF COURSE we never find out how exactly the film gets into the hands of the “media”, as told at the start. (Never mind that the film crew have had about a week’s time in which to put it online or send copies to their publishers or something, and the bureaucrat has done precisely nothing to stop this from happening.)

    All right. Fuck that.

    This isn’t just predictable. This isn’t just cliche’d. This isn’t just obvious. This isn’t just the exact same ending as half a dozen other films that also did it incredibly badly. This is actually WORSE than “28 Days Later”‘s ending. Because say what you want about the squaddies’ general stupidity and Christopher Eccleston’s terrible, terrible acting (and I have, it’s his worst performance of anything I’ve ever seen him in), at least the basic premise of the ending of that film made sense. “Troll Hunter”‘s ending does not.

    Or to put it another way… you remember the bit at the end of “Rogue”? Where the bureaucratic bush-rangers come in and kill all the surviving tourists to stop them from telling people that there are crocodiles in the swamp? No? Of course you don’t. BECAUSE THEY DIDN’T USE THAT ENDING BECAUSE IT WOULD HAVE FUCKING SUCKED.

    Y’know, they could’ve gone the other, more interesting, more plausible way. They could’ve ended the film with the film-makers releasing the footage, dedicating it to their dead cameraman who we mourn although we know nothing about him (seriously, can anybody even remember that guy’s name?) and finding that they, and their subject, have become celebrities. And suddenly everybody knows about the “troll problem”. Panic! Hysteria! Full-on troll-pocalypse! THAT would’ve been an ending.

    Instead they gave us this shitty cliched rubbish about a government coverup that got boring very fast when the “X-Files” did it, and hasn’t got any better with age.

    Sorry, “Troll hunter”, you had me for ninety minutes, and then you lost it.

    Fucking missed opportunities.

    I really liked this film, by the way. I just have to vent about that fucking stupid-as-hell ending.


    End of spoilers.

  38. – paul

    I agree with most of your points, but not about the ending of Dawn of the dead. The shopping mall is not paradise and the maincharacters almost die because they can`t let go of all the capitalistic goodiness that are slowly turning them into brainless and soulless consumers. If that greedy pilot guy hadn`t started shooting the bikers, everybody would have been fine. The evil mall made him do it.

    And to support my theory about evil malls, here is a story from real life.
    I lived in Birmingham in `96, not far from a massive shopping mall called Merry Hill (or Merry Hell, as we called it…) Around christmas time, there was bomb-threats against the malls in the area, maybe IRA or something, and the news specifically warned people about going to Merry Hell.
    Me and my girlfriend concluded that this was the perfect opportunity for non-stressfull christmas-shopping and hurried up to the mall, only to find the place packed with shoppers, who appearently had the same idea as us. Thousands of people, that would rather risk being blowing to bits by terrorists, than missing out on the christmas shopping. Then we realized that capitalism is evil and the bomb-threats was the perfect excuse for not bying any christmas-presents at all, and went to the pub and celebrated saving a lot of money.

  39. DNA – yeah, I get that. So it WAS the main character’s hubris, at least partly, that caused their fall from their false “paradise” then?

    You sort-of sold me… but the new perspective doesn’t change my dislike of the ending of that movie, although the new context is interesting.

    I’ve been in Birmingham a lot but I don’t know Merry Hill. You’re not thinking of the Bullring are you? Whenever I go to visit my relatives in that neck of the woods, I can often be found outside the Apple store there, staring longingly at all the gleaming white shiny stuff and wishing I was a lot richer than I am…

  40. paul

    No, it was near Dudley in the west midlands. I think it was 10-15 miles outside of Birmingham. It was supposed to be one of the biggest malls in England.

    Do you by any chance know the little arthouse cinema next to Birmingham Bus Station? I can`t remember the name, but I went there frequently for many years.

  41. Oh I got it. Yeah, I stayed in a hotel outside Birmingham once for a conference and went there then – I knew the name was familiar. And no, I don’t know that cinema unfortunately. My arthouse cinema is the Chapter in Cardiff – hell, pretty much my ONLY cinema is the Chapter in Cardiff, it’s not like there’s anything decent on at the multiplexes any more.

    Incidentally I googled “Merry Hill” and came up with THIS link: http://uk.westfield.com/merryhill

    …Which makes me feel that I am out of touch with modern fashion, or at least the methods used to advertise it. Seriously, those preternaturally thin women look like they were all dying of cancer, so they decided to turn each other into vampires. Or is that just me?

  42. Oh, and going back to “Troll Hunter”: just to be clear, I loved the endings of both “Cloverfield” and “Blair Witch”. That’s how you fucking do it.

  43. I watched this in a triple bill at the cinema last night (with The Shining and The Exorcist, go figure.) I thought this would be a terrible part of the three films that I would end up going out to the bar for but I have to say its the most entertaining film I have seen in ages. My jaw kept dropping at the audacity of the script and the timing of the comedy. The whole audience loved it so try to see it in a packed cinema if you get the chance.

  44. Just watched this and liked it but can’t understand why everyone keeps saying it’s “funny.”

    Yeah, it was kind of light-hearted due to the look of the trolls, but which parts were funny?

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