“Backtrack” is a dramatic thriller directed by Tom Sands and stars Mark Drake, Sophie Baker, Rosie Ackerman, Miles Jovian, and Julian Glover. It is an elevated suspense story with heavy metaphysical properties guiding a very psychological desire for vengeance. The plot revolves around a group of friends who set out to explore the reality behind one member’s regression story that dates back to World War II. The trip leads them into a nightmare where they are still very much behind enemy territory. (Cheesy I know but I just had to …)
The story is a complex narrative that is character driven. The drama is an intertwined melodrama of deception, suspense and the clashing of worlds by means of occult practices. “Backtrack” has a well written, very smart component that permeates the dialog, demands a belief in the supernatural, and explores past lives possibilities. On that level the film is excellent, a mature exploration of the ideals. There are elements that begin to wear down the suspense a bit. Dialog heavy, “Backtrack” demands a level of acting that the cast-although all give quality performances- cannot manage in order to keep the energy going from start to finish. The middle part gets a bit boring.
The cinematography and direction that Sands brings is a strong, atmospheric show of his talent. Although I longed for a darker, more intense level of storytelling that would have really had me on edge. Unfortunately this film maintains a more PG-13 tone both visually and in dialog. The real excitement shows up in the final act of the film when the stories collide with some visceral, gritty horror driven moments. There isn’t really any gore or heavy torture, but the attitude and feel of the final scenes hint to it. Overall “Backtrack” is a “soft” paranormal thriller, that is more closer to films like “The Innkeepers” as far as horror is concerned. On drama and story it is intelligent, contemporary, and yet whispers aspects of classic 60’s British metaphysics/ occult thrillers.