Backtrack is the kind of movie that surprises. In the best ways. I don’t know what I expected, but it definitely delivered a lot more.
Backtrack is not a movie I expected much from. I have a pretty ambivalent feeling as far as Adrien Brody is concerned. It’s just one of those things, where an actor rubs you the wrong way.
Or actually, it’s not so much the actor Adrien Brody, as it is his personality. A specific example would be that crude kiss he slapped on poor Halle Berry (bless that woman for not slapping him!) when he won an Academy Award for The Pianist.
However, I do tend to really love what he does as an actor, which is why I was looking forward to Backtrack. But still with no real expectations, since I also had my “Ugh, it’s an Adrien Brody movie?!”-moment.
Okay, moving on and getting to the point: Brody delivered a great performance and I ended up loving Backtrack. There, I said it! Also, it’s great to see Sam Neill (In The Mouth of Madness) and Robin McLeavy (The Loved Ones), who were both great as supporting characters.
A bit slow at first
I have to admit I found the beginning a bit slow. But once you get into the story, it makes sense and was the perfect way to introduce us to the world. Especially the mindset of Brody’s main character, Peter Bowers.
It’s all very depressing and we can’t seem to move on. Which is exactly what Bowers’ life is all about.
However, there’s also a creepy feeling that slowly takes hold and pulls you in. Initially, I had a pretty easy time guessing the plot turns and twists, but that didn’t keep the jump-scares from hitting me perfectly.
And when we got to the last part of the movie, I was on a roller-coaster ride. I have to admit I no longer knew whether the next move was up or down.
Writer-Director Michael Petroni
Michael Petroni wrote and directed Backtrack and I’m impressed. Everyone in the cast did a great job, but I found the story to be the real hero of this movie. Nothing felt forced and the fact that I could guess the twists and turns at first just meant that I didn’t expect to be surprised by anything. And that’s when the surprises started coming.
This is only Petroni’s second feature film as a director, but I sure hope we’ll be seeing more from him soon. Usually, he writes scripts and someone else directs, but you’ve probably seen some of his work. He wrote Queen of the Damned (2002), The Rite (2011) and the critically acclaimed The Book Thief (2013).
Overall, I found Backtrack had a very natural and organic way of unfolding the plot, which worked like a charm for me. Nothing seemed forced and I have to say, I ended up loving the slow start. Then again, this is an Australian production and the focus on plot development is often bigger than the need for “shock and awe”. Fortunately, this means the shock and awe moments hit that much harder when they do come.
Watch this movie in the dark and allow yourself to be pulled into Peter Bowers’ depressing world… that’s when it hits the sweet horror spot!
Backtrack is out in limited release in the US and UK – also, you can rent it on digital platforms such as Amazon and iTunes.
Director: Michael Petroni
Writer: Michael Petroni
Cast: Adrien Brody, Sam Neill, Robin McLeavy
Psychologist Peter Bower’s life is thrown into turmoil when he discovers a strange secret about his patients; They’re ghosts and all died on the same day 20 years ago