A return to popular sub-genre of late, Nazisploitation, in other words horror movies centered on the topic of most vile Nazis and whatever devilish actions that they have planned for humankind, and the film Backtrack from director Tom Sands and written by Mick Sands, takes new path deviating quite a bit from standard fare. The movie brings a solid script and hooks the audience quickly enough and keeping all who watch the movie thoroughly entertained, and released proudly through Midnight Releasing.
Journalist Ralph (Mark Drake) has troubled dreams plaguing him, and his friend, Lucas’ (Miles Jovian) girlfriend Claudia (Rose Akerman) uses her psychic abilities to have him regress back to a previous life to understand the wrongs and right them positively. He quickly reveals the previous life cycle was that Nazi commando in 1940 on a secret mission to evade South Downs, England, and sees war terrors unfolding before him frightening mysterious obsessions possess him to venture and discover the realism of a previous self. The movie never veers too far into the exploitation like so many predecessors, a refreshing version in a tired genre that always needs to walk a fine line, as not cross it and offending easily past and current generations of cinema and horror fans. As Ralph nears the area of many of his dreams, the vividness opens to more wretched disgusting behaviors that equally appalled himself today, accompanying him on the trip Lucas, Claudia and his girlfriend Andrea (Sophia Barker) who a risqué love affair with Lucas. Sands’ script and film both cast the cheaters in annoying and rude light, and instill the audience to despise the behavior as unlawful offense, and through masterful direction harkens back to film noir to capture the moral code laying out painful reminders to justified punishment. As the frisky pair engages in raging lustful behaviors while camping in South Downs, as Ralph and Claudia venture to Plumpton and the surrounding areas on foot, pacing and well place cuts make the distance seem shorter than reality presents itself. However, no one is safe, as a watcher spies on them, with great joy and sinister intentions, sadly to say anymore would only spoil the movie to one’s enjoyment, though needless to say, well worth the time of the flick, especially Jon Barlett giving a hammer style send up as the barkeeper of a roadside pub. Lastly, one must note the quality acting performance of Julian Glover noted his stunning roles in the Game of Thrones series, For Your Eyes Only and of course Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, showing his superb even in a bit part, a must see for fans.
The past life and reincarnation aspects notable only belong to one other horror icon, for the most part, the Universal Mummy films, namely Cleopatra, hence refreshing course of action to involve this portion, in location from Germany itself, and steers further away from anything campy and downright sleazy, rather leaving that to the cheaters to deal with in vast humiliation. Nevertheless, the film does return to the realm of Nazi horror films by the connection mysticism and occultism, featuring an old Man, with vengeance coursing through himself, and at the one who destroyed his world. Also, watch for the crafty theology aspects of with a bit of old school British horror, dealing the darkness of the mind and lack of forgiveness shuttered to the light above closing off its warm reign love over pain and agony.
One must note that this is Tom Sands first feature film, and yet his creativity shows his talents with a smooth production, and provides sympatric elements to leads understanding the horrors of war the atrocities shown in harsher light. The special effects overshadow the torture scenes, the gruesome effects could carry the audience further, and allowing the violence to cast itself as a visible villain, the film gains many good marks. Once again proving the large budgets not always needed when the screenplay drives a compelling movie.
This movie really drives a brutal and realistic storyline, with many special gems, and wonderful cinematography of many moments, and adding the blurriness to have the audience peer and willingly giving the attention over, only to a careful chosen moment for a jump scare, Hitchcock lessons continue to influence filmmakers.