Genre : Mystery/Horror
Country : Australia/UK
Adrien Brody : Peter Bower
Sam Neill : Duncan Stewart
George Shevtsov : William Bower
Director : Michael Petroni
Peter Bower (Adrien Brody) is a tormented soul whose life became an ordeal after the fatal accident of his daughter. With the help of his friend and colleague Duncan Stewart (Sam “Jurassic Park” Neill), he attempts to give meaning to his life back again. However, after a while he becomes aware that his limited number of patients aren’t exactly overflowing with a joy for life (literally and figuratively). This leads to a search for the cause of a guilt feeling he developed since his childhood. He returns to his hometown to investigate a tragic accident that happened in the past. And this because of the connection his current patients have with this point in time.
“Pete … I’m here to help you.
I really appreciate it. At least you’re still alive to help me.”
Adrien Brody failed in maintaining his level of acting after getting an Oscar for his brilliant part in “The Pianist“. His contribution to “King Kong” and “Splice” still was acceptable. But his participation in the (in my opinion) very lousy movie “American Heist” was definitely a low point in his career. Was this promising actor on his way to build some sort Willis-Cage reputation? It looks like it. Especially after I’ve seen “Backtrack“. This psychological thriller isn’t a bad movie and cinematically it also looks pretty decent. But you can’t really call it impressive. Similar movies have been made frequently. It doesn’t take long to make a comparison with “The sixth sense” (a film from the heyday of Bruce Willis). The facial expression Brody used in “American Heist” was partially preserved. So expect a tormented look throughout the whole movie, while the cabinet of this psychologically cracked and grief-stricken psychologist gets visits from some strange patients.
You can hardly call this horror. There’s practically not a single scary moment. The atmosphere is quite creepy and there are a few attempts to provide a jump scare, but in the end most of them are rather disappointing. It isn’t original by any means and the subject has been widely used in other films already. As in “The Babadook” the main focus is a grieving process and the psychological impact it has on a person’s psyche. The biggest problem is cataloging this movie in one particular genre. Is it a psychological thriller? Or a typical ghost story? Or can you label it as an old-fashioned murder mystery? You can expect some skeletons being found in the closet. Both literally and figuratively.
“Backtrack” isn’t exactly a film that will leave a great impression. It isn’t exactly bad either. And this because of the convincing acting of Brody. It’s not high quality cinema, but it’s appropriate to entertain yourself during a rainy Sunday. Even though the plot is a tad too predictable. Unfortunately it’s also one of those many films you can’t remember anything from the other day.