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The following FAQ entries may contain spoilers. Only the biggest ones (if any) will be covered with spoiler tags. Spoiler tags have been used sparingly in order to make the page more readable.
For detailed information about the amounts and types of (a) sex and nudity, (b) violence and gore, (c) profanity, (d) alcohol, drugs, and smoking, and (e) frightening and intense scenes in this movie, consult the IMDb Parents Guide for this movie. The Parents Guide for Backtrack can be found here.
After his daughter Evie's death, psychologist Peter Bower (Adrien Brody) begins to have disturbing visions of dead people that lead him to investigate a 1987 train derailment that took the lives of 47 people. The more he remembers about the 20-year old wreck, the more terrifying things become.
Backtrack was filmed from a screenplay by Australian film maker Michael Petroni, who also directed and co-produced the movie.
Evie (Emma O'Farrell) and Peter were making their way down a rainy sidewalk, Peter walking and Evie riding her bike, when Peter was distracted for a moment by a switch tower in a model train display in a store window. Evie kept pedaling on and, apparently, swerved into the street where she was hit by a truck.
It's the date July 12, 1987 of the train accident. American viewers may wish to bear in mind that it is customary for many nonAmerican countries, including Australia, to write a date with the day first, followed by the month and year, hence 12/7/87 (July 12, 1987), as opposed to the American convention of writing the month first, followed by the day and year.
Peter and Barry (Malcolm Kennard) have lived for 20 years believing that it was the bicycles they left on the train track as teenagers that caused the derailment. Later, it is revealed that the girl in the switch house accidentally switched the tracks as the train was passing and that is what led it to derail, not the bikes.
Yes, but the investigator at the time of the accident either buried that fact or pulled the switch lever to put the track back in place.
Peter threatened to discuss the events with the police. Barry had lived with the guilt for many years. Although both he and Peter believed that it was their bikes that caused the derailment, this was not public knowledge, thanks to Bill keeping the investigation under wraps. Barry feared that Peter making that knowledge known would result in jail time, tremendous legal costs, and public humiliation, and he apparently couldn't face it.
When Peter confronts Bill (George Shevtsov) with the fact that he saw him rape and kill Elizabeth and orders him to confess, Bill refuses. So Peter calls Officer Barbara Henning (Robin McLeavy) and is surprised to hear her cell phone ringing in the trunk of Bill's car. Bill and Peter struggle, and Bill clobbers Peter with his gun and stows him in the car. He drives them both away but meets up with the ghost of Elizabeth standing in the road, making him lose control of the car. Peter is thrown out of the backseat, and the car comes to a stop smack on the train tracks. As a train approaches, Bill finds his car doors locked and the engine dead. He screams to Peter for help. Peter shoots out the car windows so that Bill can escape. The trunk suddenly snaps open, and Barbara manages to climb out. Peter pulls her off the tracks while Bill, held back by Elizabeth's ghost, is crushed by the train. As the train passes by, Peter hears screaming and sees the faces of the past victims. Meanwhile, he also sees a tranquil Elizabeth walk down the street. In the final scene, Peter sits on the beach with the ghost of Evie, who kisses him and wordlessly walks into the ocean, finally in peace. Peter's wife Carol (Jenni Baird) asks him what he's thinking, and Peter replies that he's thinking about kids. They embrace.
Most viewers reply to this question by saying that Peter might have been more 'open' to the influence of the ghosts, especially having recently lost his own daughter. Others point out that his mentor Duncan Stewart (Sam Neill), who it turns out is also dead, referred them to him. A few viewers wonder whether Evie and Elizabeth Valentine (EV) might have had teamed up together.
The painting is titled 'Winter Landscape with (Skaters and) a Bird Trap' (1565) by Dutch painter Pieter Bruegel. It can be seen here.
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