Toronto After Dark: Backtrack (2015) – Michael Petroni


Last night, the 10th Annual Toronto After Dark film festival took us Down Under for a spooky, and well-crafted ghost story starring Adrien Brody and Sam Neill. And for the first time all festival, a jump scare got me!

Brody plays psychologist Peter Bower, who finds himself in strange circumstances as he still mourns a personal tragedy in his life. Sam Neill plays his mentor, and occasional therapist, Duncan. As the two try to work through his own emotional problems, Bower comes to the troubling realization about his clients.

With the introduction of a new patient, Elizabeth Valentine (Chloe Bayliss), he finds dealing with his own grief and resolving the problems around him may in fact be connected.

To solve everything, he returns home, to the little town of False Creek, and revisits a tragedy from the town’s history that occurred in his youth, one that he is tied to…

I quite liked this one, it had shades of Stir of Echoes about it, and with Brody bringing the necessary gravitas to the role, it was a very engaging film, and I found myself rather caught up in this one.

The story didn’t rush itself, it took its time, giving us glimpses of the past as Peter tries to remember exactly what occurred and why he can’t remember what actually happened.


The ghostly effects work very nicely, and are not over done, instead, relying on that campfire sensation of sharing spooky stories with one another. The more you buy into the film, the more spooky it becomes, and there are some wonderfully spooky moments.

And like all the best ghost stories there is more going on than is initially believed. There are reasons for the haunting, and as the threads tie together, the tapestry it forms demands justice, revenge, and the promise of a final rest when it is completed.

I quite enjoyed the scenes Brody shares with Neill, there’s a nice feel between the two actors, and they both help create the spooky atmosphere that permeates the film. Add in a nice performance by Robin McLeavy as Constable Barbara Henning, and appearance by cult favorite Bruce Spence and you have a nice solid film.

I truly enjoy a good ghost story, and this one while not great was definitely very good. And it had an effect on the audience as well. I could hear people muttering around me as they got wrapped up in the film, and the scares (often jump scares with musical stings)… they had really gotten into the film.

The thing I most liked about the story is that when the reveals start to happen, and your brain, starts to piece them together, and things don’t always ring true, those very things that nag at you are revisited, re-examined, and re-evaluated.

An enjoyable and spooky film!

What are you seeing After Dark?


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