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Goners is a 2013 American Supernatural Horror Slasher film written and directed by Joss Whedon. The movie stars Vanessa Ferlito, Alex Pettyfer, Shia LaBeouf, Ed Helms, Amanda Seyfried, Anna Kendrick, Kal Penn, Eric Dane and Michelle Monaghan. The film was released worldwide in a large widely promoted theatrical release on April 10th, 2013 release theatrically and was shot in Long Island, New York as well as locations including Edinburgh, Scotland and Montreal, Canada.

The film is presented and produced by Quentin Tarantino.

The film was rewarded with Oscar nominations for Best Supporting Actor: Ed Helms and Best Original Screenplay.

It marks one of few Horror/Thriller films to garner Oscar Nominations and was commercially successful and crazily acclaimed by critics garnering sizziling cult status for writer/director Joss Whedon in the allegory of Horror.

The film was distributed by Universal Studios.

It was originally conceived by Joss Whedon as a potential episode for Eric Kripke's still running hit CW television series Supernatural to premiere as a specially done Season Nine episode, despite the idea being more then embraced by the writers and long-running executive producer McG collaborator Drew Goddard went above to see it become it's own project.

The film oversees five young adults with successful careers take a dangerous supernatural drug from a demon after they learn their about to lose their careers. The drug brings out their darkest fears and inner-demons as well as making one of the five unfortunate individuals homicidal and another suicidal as well as a father and daughter having their worst fears turn against them.

The film was awarded with several accolades including prominentely the Saturn Award Best Horror/Thriller film 2013 marking the second Whedon horror project to secure the said award, Chainsaw and Fangoria Awards For Best Horror film, MTV and BAFTA awards for Best Horror and Best Supporting Actor: Helms and Actress: Seyfried.

Plot

The film begins with Rose Watson in the bathroom of the Kendra Peters residence where her thoughts are told as a narrative before the film goes onto her, her Salesman boyfriend Gary Clarke, Accountant friend Jamie Mankara,his girlfriend teacher Miranda Noorm and Advertising Agent Clairboyant Darnvell.

We see them head off to their jobs and then the nights following their happy work day drinking up in a bar.

They are then informed the following day that they are to be fired, each one of them.

Rosaline upon being informed she is to be let go has her co-worker friend Kendra Peters up and quit accompanying Rose to the elevator to head out of the building.

She tells Rose she has been looking for an excuse to up and leave their horrible workplace for years.

She tells she is going to throw a party to celebrate her resignation and invites Rose to come along, bring her boyfriend and even some friends if she wants.

Rose then asks Gary, Jamie, Miranda and Clairboyant if they would like to come along to a party a co-worker friend of hers that up and quit work is having.

Gary states if Rose wishes to go he'll come along, Clairboyant says yes being the party one, Jamie at first says no however Miranda states why the hell not being in a drunken state already which makes Jamie decide to come along, on her behalf.

The group then come to the party and are befriended by Kendra's boyfriend Tate Hope and a strange man named Azrael.

The group also comes to meet a college professor Harold Lockwood and his 19 year old daughter Jennifer who are family friends with the Hopes.

Azrael eventually is approached by Kendra who demands to know who he is claiming he wasn't invited to the party and isn't someone she knows.

Azrael states he can explain and upon staring into Kendra's eyes hypnotizes her.

He then produces a white tablet and places it in her hand.

As he walks away Tate comes up to Kendra and asks who that was.

She answers dazily no idea and then as Tate turns to shake hands with two party-goers Kendra takes the tablet with a martini.

19 year old Jennifer is then approached by Azrael as she is stealing alcohol from the bar and is given the tablet which she is told is ecstasy, she initially goes to refuse but as her father approaches quickly downs the tablet.

Azrael then by means of hypnotism makes Harold take the tablet as well.

We then come to Rose and the others who come to Kendra to tell her they have really enjoyed her party and are gracious for the invitation but are going to leave who upon telling Kendra this are approached by the mysterious man Azrael.

He introduces himself and tells them he has something Kendra would like to leave them with before they depart.

Kendra then tells them it's a present for each of them for attending.

Miranda drunk yells happily in regards to the presents but Rose says thank you but no thank you to Azrael.

Kendra grabs Rose's arm and says please, i spent the rest of my money from quitting work on these presents.

Rose then agrees as Miranda ushers her over to Azrael who tells them he left it in the house in the upstairs bedroom bathroom.

They go up there and are presented with five white tablets.

Rose and Gary seem repulsed and tell them that none of them are drug users.

Clairboyant agrees but looks guilty.

Jamie angrily tells Azrael that he is not giving his girlfriend drugs.

Miranda calls Jamie a killjoy and wants one.

He tells them that the drug is ecstasy and Azrael attempts to hypnotize them into taking it.

The hypnosis works upon Gary and Jamie but not Rose to his astonishment.

Miranda and Clairboyant take it voluntarily and Rose has it pushed down her mouth as Azrael hypnotizes Miranda into forcing the drug into Rose's mouth.

Azrael then tells them to enjoy as the lights go out in the bathroom.

When the lights come back on he is nowhere to be seen.

From there the group and Kendra begin to hallucinate out their darknest phobias, inner-demons and problems.

Kendra is the first to succumb to the effects of the supernatural drug as she was the first to take it.

She sees her former neighbour who murdered his wife right in front of her.

She seems him as a ghastly black figure with yellow eyes out to get her.

She also sees hordes and hordes of large spiders everywhere representing the very spiders which surrounded her in the cupboard she was in when she witnessed her neighbour's murder.

Eventually she dies of a heart attack before the eyes of boyfriend Tate believing the ghastly monster form of her murderous male neighbour attacking her.

Standing in front of their living room's glass coffee table she slips backwards and collapses upon the table, smashing it and having glass shards embedded into her back as she dies of cardiac arrest. visage of Kendra Peters.

Following Kendra's funeral where the group freaks out they are brought in for questioning about a businessman who apparently attended the party, a shifty caucasian man mentioned as being seen by Tate Hope approaching Kendra, UCN Professor Harold Lockwood and his daughter and her and her friends.

Rose and the others describe the businessman and a sketch is made which shortly suddenly combusts and burns away.

The sketch artist and officers as well as the group can't seem to remember such a businessman by description and they are all let go for the time being.

Rose convinces Gary for the following day to go and see Professor Lockwood and his daughter as she has a really bad feeling something bad is going to happen to them.

Jamie with an agitated Miranda on heavy psychosis medication follow Rose and Gary to UCN and Clairboyant happens to have already came to the university himself and struck a flat outside.

There it is revealed that Professor Lockwood and his daughter Jennifer have been experiencing strange delusions.

Professor Lockwood of water as he almost drowned when he was his daughter's age swimming in a college race and Jennifer of loud noises as her sister who passed due to cancer would always wake her up in the morning by putting headphones on her turned up at full volume on music.

Jennifer is having an argument with her father and upon shoving him falls back into traffic and is run over by Tate Hope's car as she slides under and is hit by the front left tyre and back right tyre.

That night the seperate and do not speak, a news report tells the death of Kendra Peters and how her fiance Tate Hope had just earlier that day ran down 19 year old college youth Jennifer Lockwood.

Miranda over the course of the day to that night becomes more rampant with her delusions of the insects burrowing beneath her skin and begins her horrific attempt at removing them.

Rose, Gary and Clairboyant come to see Professor Lockwood at his home and resusitate him from drowning on alcohol.

They discover he had attempted to drink himself to death as what he sees won't stop and now even worse his daughter is gone, it's his fault and now with the water drowning him all he sees is his daughter all broken swimming amongst it.

Jamie awakens to find Miranda missing and Clairboyant, Rose and Gary then witness Professor Lockwood die as he falls in his shed (they come into to get his car) onto a saw table and is cut through the chest.

Clairboyant then begins to break down and flees the scene.

Rose begins to hallucinate of blood, Professor Lockwood, Jennifer and Kendra as well as the rest of them dying.

We then come to Clairboyant and learn that he possessed an abusive father he killed in self-defence at age 11.

He succumbs to the supernatural drug and begins to hallucinate that everyone around him is his father out to get him.

At the same time he succumbs completely as does Miranda who is revealed to have lost an older sister Jessica many years ago who saved her from a chasm she fell into whilest on holiday with her family at age 6 in Norway.

The chasm contained starved scarab like insects which attacked her and attacked and killed her sister.

She begins to hallucinate that the insects which attacked her and killed her sister are beneath her skin eating away at her from the inside.

She begins to frantically scratch at her skin and then attempt to cut them out.

She comes to Clairboyant to have him kill her after she has disfigured herself and he hallucinates her face to be that of his father's. He then bashes her horribly and the hallucination she is his father fades and he realizes what he has done.

Clairboyant then heads to the top of his apartment as Rose, Gary and Jamie arrive at the building upon Miranda calling them.

Miranda then after the call imagines a bug ripping forth out a wound and crawling up her bloody arm which leads her to scream which captures the attention of Jamie who runs forward to the apartment building as Clairboyant jumps forth off the apartment building roof and comes crashing down to his death before the eyes of Rose, Gary and Jamie.

Miranda then stumbles out of the apartment into Jamie's arms covered in blood as sirens wail ahead signalling the police and paramedics are coming.

We then see paramedics take Miranda into an ambulance accompanied by Jamie and the body of Clairboyant being taken away on a stretcher.

Rose and Gary are interviewed by the police once again as reporters are being fended off by other officers in the background.

They demand to know what's going on, Kendra Peters who they attended the party of is approached by some man they can't describe, as was them, Professor Harold Lockwood and his daughter and now Miss Peters, Mr. Lockwood, his teenage daughter and their friend are all dead, under bizarre circumstances.

They recite the fact that Kendra Peters suddenly falls atop a glass coffee table after entering cardiac arrest and dies, Jennifer Lockwood begins to have a breakdown and steps into the path of Tate Hope's car and is smashed into, her father Harold Lockwood whilest there with him falls in his shed atop a table saw and their friend Clairboyant just decides to take a dive off a building.

They after having garnering no reply from Rose or Gary tell that their friend Miranda is in critical condition, that not only did she receive a severe beating from their swan dive friend Darnvell but she had a couple of hours pre Clairboyant's death hacked away at herself with a kitchen knife from Jamie Mankara's apartment.

Rose and Gary are told they won't be brought down to the station for questioning and are instead advised to go to the hospital and be there for their friend and should they find out anything, or better remember what the businessman looked like they contact them.

Rose tells she's a former co-worker of hers and a friend and Gary tells he met her at a party that Rose was invited to.

The officer informs she died last night before the eyes of her boyfriend Tate Hope of an apparent heart attack and only a day prior was suffering horrible hallucinations and disillusions of an old neigbour of hers out to get her along with hordes of spiders.

We then come to Miranda in hospital who is left unattended for awhile by her doctor and nurses who discuss Miranda's injuries and delusions she's having with Jamie outside.

Miranda then has hallucinations of the bugs pouring out of her wounds again in her hospital bed.

Her screaming summons Jamie, The Doctor and nurses back to the room.

Upon Jamie apporaching her she tells him to take her out of here.

The doctor and nurses restrain and transquilize Miranda.

We then see Rose and Gary track down the man Azrael who gave them the strange drug which has caused Clairboyant and Kendra to die.

He is occupying a small apartment within a close radious to all of them: including Kendra.

They confront him about the drug and demand to know what they gave him and threaten him with going to the cops.

He tells them that mere mortal officers won't be able to stop him which confuses Rose and Gary.

Gary then furthermore threatens Azrael and then by telekinesis they are flung back and forth across the apartment: destroying nearly all the furniture inside.

Azrael then reveals to the two he is a demon and the little drug he provided them with is indeed a supernatural ampthetamine designed to bring out their inner-demons and prompt a grisly demise so he may claim their souls.

He then tells how them and their little group of friends are definitley the juiciest souls he's got as of yet.

He then tells them that they might want to focus on the pretty blonde friend of their's and her little boyfie.

We then come to Jamie who begins to succumb to the drug and steals Miranda and her hospital bed rushing it out of the hospital out to his van.

He drives off her with her to his fishing cabin in the woods outside of the city.

Rose and Gary then come to the hospital to meet them where they meet with the detectives from before who tell they have fled.

Gary then tells Rose of a fishing cabin which has been in Jamie's family for about 30 years and is in the woods on the outskirts of town.

We then go through three days of Miranda's further advancing insanity as Gary and Rose assemble with her and Jamie at the cabin and Jamie succumbs completely to the drug which makes him take on the traits of his schitzophrenic murderous brother.

The film ends with Jamie coming to kill Rose, Gary and Miranda and Miranda asking him to kill her after she once again cuts herself up trying to get to the insects inside.

He kills her by splashing boiling water from a kettel in the cabin's kitchen upon her which makes her face and upper torso melt away.

Jamie then fatally stabs Gary in the throat with a butcher's knife rendering him to the ground and knocks Rose to the ground of a doorway where he proceeds to bash a door against her head until he believes she's dead.

She however springs up and seizes Gary's gun which she uses to shoot Jamie in the back and chest killing him.

She then holds Gary as he bleeds to death in her arms.

She leaves by canoe before the paramedics and police come and heads to the Peters residence where she comes to the upstairs bathroom.

We then see Azrael walking outside Rose's business building where he comes across a man who has been fired leaving a building with his work-stuff.

He drops his stuff after cursing and then is approached by Azrael who extends a hand and then walks him away.

The man comes to an intersection and Azrael parts ways leaving in his hand a single white tablet, as the man opens his hand and looks down at it we see Jennifer Lockwood's group of college friends opening their hands and looking down at their own individual white tablets, Rose's sister Viviene and damaged Tate Hope finding in their mailboxes envelopes containing the white tablets with a note reading "Don't You Want To Know What Happened To Her?"

The film then ends.

Cast

  • Vanessa Ferlito as District Attorney Rosaline Watson
  • Alex Pettyfer as Salesman Gary Clarke
  • Shia LaBeouf as Accountant Jamie Mankara
  • Ed Helms as Azrael
  • Amanda Seyfried as Teacher Miranda Noorm
  • Anna Kendrick as District Attorney Kendra Peters
  • Aaron Ashmore as Kendra's boyfriend Tate Hope
  • Michelle Monaghan as Viviene Watson
  • Eric Dane as Professor Harold Lockwood
  • Kelcie Stranahan as Jennifer Lockwood
  • Spencer Daniels as Boston Eeves
  • Keir Gilchrist as Jimmy Tammauld
  • Shelbie Bruce as Laura Terch
  • Eliza Bennett as April Newcaster
  • Jack Quaid as Corby Brewster
  • Jason O' Mara as Ending Businessman
  • Matt Schulze as Officer Duke
  • Richard Coyle as Officer Bench
  • Miranda Hart as Inspector Close
  • Gina Gershon as Boss Terrace
  • Kal Penn as Clairboyant Darnvell
  • Edie Falco as Boss Merlotte
  • Leland Orser as Boss Hampton
  • Benedict Cumberbatch as Boss Douglas
  • Andrew Bryniarski as The Ghastly Demon
  • Andy Serkis as Dobermans #1 and #2
  • Rosaline Watson
  • Gary Clarke
  • Jamie Mankara
  • Miranda Noorm
  • Clairboyant Darnvell
  • Kendra Peters
  • Azrael
  • Harold Lockwood
  • Jennifer Lockwood

Production

Joss Whedon contemplated creating another Horror/Thriller film following the success of his hugely succesful previous horror film The Cabin In The Woods, which he penned the screenplay of along with fellow Buffy The Vampire Slayer writer Drew Goddard who directed the Cabin in The Woods.

Wishing to helm the director's chair and the screenplay himself for a horror film he bagn to spitball ideas for another horror film.

Ideas came of a haunting movie came to mind, but wishing to come up with something which was as different and genre bending as the Cabin.

He then deliberated and settled on August 11th, 2012 with Goners; a film dealing with protagonists who become maddened by a demonic virus of sorts which bends with their minds and corrupts them with their own buried own psychological demons.

The film's draft script was completed on September 4th, and the film went into immediate greenlight production on September 10th and began shooting in Toronto, Ontario on September 16th, 2012.

Filming wrapped on March 24th, 2013 and Post-Production closed on March 30th, 2013.

The film was released theatrically on April 10th to critical praise and audience acclaim.

The film's high budget went towards to central costumes, hiring out the large locations and areas for shooting and highest of all to the effects which were more practically done then visually.

The only visual sequences were done in the climatic hotel kitchen sequence with the death of Miranda Noorm.

Casting

Joss Whedon had auditions held for each character apart from Clairboyant Darnvell, which was a closed audition reserved for actor Kal Penn upon ultimatley deciding on the said character's ethnicity.

The other characters which had actors in mind were contacted to audition and came in, nearly every single one securing the role that Whedon had envisioned them in.

For the role of Rosaline Watson Whedon not only had voluptous Death Proof actress Vanessa Ferlito in mind but also Shailene Woodley, Emma Stone and Nina Dobrev.

Premiere

A premiere screening for the film was held at the Los Angeles Film Festival attended by the following collective of celebrities and the cast and crew of Goners:

  1. Amanda Plummer
  2. Anna Hutchison
  3. Jesse Williams
  4. Chad Michael Murray
  5. Elisha Cuthbert
  6. Kristen Connolly
  7. Fran Kanz
  8. Nicole Kidman
  9. Naomi Watts
  10. Jason Patric
  11. Cameron Diaz
  12. Ralph Fiennes
  13. Seann William Scott
  14. Eddie Kaye Thomas
  15. Arlen Escaparata
  16. Emma Watson
  17. Daniel Radcliffe
  18. Bruce Willis
  19. Demi Moore
  20. Rebel Wilson
  21. Skylar Astin
  22. Katy Perry
  23. Shawn Ashmore
  24. Aaron Ashmore
  25. Aaron Paul
  26. Sara Paxton
  27. Julie Benz
  28. Nicholas Brendon
  29. Sarah Michelle Gellar
  30. Brendan Fraser
  31. Brendan Fehr
  32. Taye Diggs
  33. Lupe Fiasco
  34. George Clooney
  35. Sandra Bullock
  36. Drew Barrymore
  37. Wes Craven
  38. Kevin Williamson
  39. Bijou Phillips
  40. Rory Culkin
  41. Emma Roberts
  42. Neve Campbell
  43. Jennifer Aniston
  44. Jason Bateman
  45. Julie Bowen
  46. Adam Sandler
  47. Ginnifer Goodwin
  48. Anna Kendrick
  49. Kelcie Stranahan
  50. Drew Goddard
  51. Eric Dane
  52. Bradley Cooper
  53. Justin Bartha
  54. Zach Galifianakis
  55. Vanessa Ferlito
  56. Alex Pettyfer
  57. Sidney Lumet
  58. Lili Taylor
  59. Teresa Palmer
  60. Dianna Agron
  61. Callan McAuliffe
  62. Amanda Seyfried
  63. Rachel McAdams
  64. Lacey Chabert
  65. Shia LaBeouf
  66. Megan Fox
  67. Josh Duhamel
  68. Topher Grace
  69. Tyrese Gibson
  70. Michelle Williams
  71. Leonardo DiCaprio
  72. Peter O'Toole
  73. Sidney Pollack
  74. Moms Mabley
  75. Nina Conti
  76. Christopher Guest

Behind The Scenes

  • Actress Amanda Seyfried was instructed in all her scenes apart from the party and climax scenes to have her hair up and not down, as under Whedon's instruction a way of promoting her intelligence, maturity and virtue
  • The character of Clairboyant Darnvell in early pre-production was the only character not given a direct ethinicity, Whedon had it jotted down as he would be either an African-American, Indian or Asian character. He first decided on an African-American character hoping to call in actor Jesse Williams for the part but scrapped that idea after realizing audiences would associate him with Whedon's previous popular horror debut The Cabin In The Woods. He in consideration of making the character asian thought of Harold & Kumar star John Cho but then quickly on thought of the film remembered actor Kal Penn whom he worked with on Buffy the Vampire Slayer & it's spin-off Angel. The character was then scripted as a fast talking Indian American character.
  • Despite the character Clairboyant Darnvell being the comic relief for the film he is the fourth character to be killed under the blood infection of the demon Azrael
  • Joss Whedon went through the Kings Of Hell, Dante's Inferno and Purgatory and Paradise Lost in search for the ideal demonic antagonist behind the character's insanity drives. He had originally even settled on the concept of making Satan the antagonist but thought that to be too stereotypical and the fact that the antagonist is just a mere demon of hell makes the idea of Satan more menacing and frightening.
  • Whedon originally thought Helms was not right for the part of the demon Azrael but after four auditions over a span of three months he saw a belayed charm similiar to the one Wolf Creek antagonist Mick Taylor bestows and that lures victims into the sheer, cruel horror he inflicts.
  • The idea of the climax was originally scripted for an abandoned warehouse which was meant to be renovated into a restaurant and had the restaurant set-up at the back but this didn't work in with the film's storyline so Whedon changed the ending locale to a cabin in the woods, an idea he strongly not wanted to do but after doing so had no regrets.
  • Actors Pettyfer and Kendrick were chosen after being seen in particular films which Whedon immensley enjoyed: Pettyfer for Beastly and Kendrick for her Oscar Nominated role in the film Up In the Air (despite the fact her character has striking personality similiarities to her character Stacy Pilgrim in Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World)
  • LaBeouf auditioned on the strong recommendation of his agent and actress Seyfried who portrays his girlfriend Miranda Noorm in the film.
  • The Ghastly Demon Kendra Peters sees in delusions in the film is designed by Buffy the Vampire Slayer & Angel make-up designer John Maldonado.
  • Actress Michelle Monaghan signed on after actor Shia LaBeouf got attached to the project as she had co-starred alongside him in the action film Eagle Eye and enjoyed the experience. She also was incredibly impressed by the fellow attached actors and actresses of the motion picture.
  • The idea for the film came out of a late night nightmare Whedon had conjured up, awoken and wrote down. He had described the dream as one you just can't forget, incredibly detailed, engaging, unexplainable, intelligent and unnerving, everything a horror film should be.
  • Eric Dane originally auditioned for the role of Jamie Mankara
  • Originally it was only meant to be six individuals who serve as the characters succumbing to the demon Azrael's blood however after Dane's impressive audition Whedon scripted the role of a College Professor for him who is given the drug and forced to take it through hypnotism, Whedon then deliberated however for the teen audience watching they should have at least one teen girl and his obsession with blonde girls in clear and present danger led him to create the character of Professor Lockwood's 19 year old daughter Jennifer, who also unfortunatley takes the drug
  • Kelcie Stranahan auditioned twice for the role of Jennifer Lockwood
  • Jamie Mankara's parents' cabin is a replica of the Rivera Mountain Inn Cabin Gore Verbinski's the Ring and Clear Rivers' fathers' cabin from Final Destination. It is a combination of the two cabins in one to show that the cabin would indeed possess the large kitchen it does.

Soundtrack

  1. We Come Running- Youngblood Hawke
  2. Helena Beat- Foster The People
  3. Sweet Disposition- The Temper Trap
  4. Rabbit Hole- The Temper Trap
  5. Brendan's Death Song- Red Hot Chilli Peppers
  6. The Adventures Of Rain Dance Maggie- Red Hot Chilli Peppers
  7. Around The World- Daft Punk
  8. From Paris To Berlin- Infernal
  9. The Man Who Sold The World- Nirvana (End Credits Song 1)
  10. Morning Sun- Beautiful Girls (End Credits Song 2)
  11. Songbird- Bernard Fanning (End Credits Song 3)

Reception

The movie received overwelming critical acclaim from critics and audiences alike. It currently has a fresh rating of 100% on rotten tomatoes. The film currently holds 95 out of 100 on Metacritic.

Various reviewing film critics and judging jurors of the film festivals it screened at marked it as "terrifying, mysterious and yet another great horror to put a twist into the body count horror film."

Release

The film was released on Blu-Ray, DVD and Ultraviolet Disc Formats as well as Digital Copy for PC portable play.

The film was released with over four hours of DVD Extras stemming from the below:

  • Taking The Pill: The Making of Goners, chronicling Joss and the cast's trek through the story of the film, the production's team's set designs and all the major visual effects one comes to witness
  • Inner-Demons: Featurette chronicling the story of each of the eight victims and the demon Azrael
  • The Cast: Featurette on the Cast
  • The Crew: Featurette on the Crew
  • Scoring a Party: Scoring the film Goners
  • The Humor: Featurette on the writing of the film
  • Costumes: Featurette on the film's wardrobe
  • Blood, Bugs, Fire, Sound, Water, Madness and Faces: Featurette looking at the delusions of the eight victims
  • The Climax: Featurette on the final cabin scene confrontation
  • The Ghastly and the Unearthly: A look at the creation of Kendra Peters' Ghastly Black Figure and the creation of Azrael's true visage
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