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Backtrack (2015) - Plot Summary Poster

(I) (2015)

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Summaries

  • Psychologist Peter Bower's life is thrown into turmoil when he discovers a strange secret about his patients. Risking his own sanity, Peter delves into his past to uncover a terrifying secret which only he can put right. But is the reward worth risking more than a single life?

  • After losing his daughter hit by a truck, the troubled psychologist Peter Bower moves to Sidney with his wife Carol and his colleague and friend Dr. Duncan Stewart gets strange patients for him. When Dr. Bower discovers a secret about Dr. Stewart and his patients, he travels alone to his hometown False Creek to the house of his estranged father William Bower. Haunted by his past, Peter digs his recollections and uncovers a hideous secret from his past.


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Synopsis

  • Dr. Peter Bower is a troubled psychiatrist/psychotherapist who lives alone with his wife in solitude since the death of their only daughter. Peter encourages his wife to sleep as a means of coping with the loss while he works tirelessly in therapy with his patients, only to be haunted by nightmares and painful memories of losing his daughter, Evie. His mentor and colleague, Dr. Duncan Stewart, encourages him to think more deeply of the event in which Evie was killed. A remorseful and emotionally shattered Peter recounts that he had just bought her a bike and was teaching her to ride it down the street but was distracted when he noticed a train set in a nearby store window, obviously having an emotional connection to such a position of the train. However, while being distracted, Evie is hit by an oncoming car and dies.

    Peter has several patients, a former jazz player named Felix who he believes is suffering from anterograde amnesia, and another patient named Erika who is combated with suicidal thoughts and feelings. Duncan becomes Peter's psychotherapist and encourages him to remember his daughter Evie, which truly eats at Peter and helps him relieve some of his pent up emotion. Duncan also encourages Peter to remember and revisit the object which caught his attention when Evie had died. Though Peter continuously tries to remember, he is unable to remember completely what exactly it was. "You'll remember it," Duncan says before leaving. One night, Peter notices a little girl named Elizabeth waiting for him outside his office. Peter invites her inside and Elizabeth begins to show visible signs of fear as they feel the train lumber by outside. She flees the office after writing the letter, 12787, in one of Peter's notepads.

    Peter returns home and discusses their upcoming anniversary with his wife who is suffering severe depression and is unsure how to move on with her life. Peter returns to his office and finds Elizabeth there as well in obvious pain. She begins hyperventilating as the train drives by and falls to the floor. Peter sets her down in one of his sofas and desperately tries to find some medicine for her only to discover that she has disappeared. He tells Duncan of the event but Duncan is seemingly skeptical but encourages him to analyze Elizabeth's initials. Peter reluctantly does so and realizes that they are "E.V." He then suddenly is overcome with emotion and confusion. He recognizes a painting in Duncan's office and notices that he had had a dream of it before. He then analyzes that a traumatic event had happened to him years ago i his youth. Duncan encourages him to look further into the dream to research what it is he is unable to remember.

    That night while looking through the number 12787, Peter sees a vision of Elizabeth who transforms into Evie. Peter then sees a vision of his patient Ericka who explains to him that she cannot kill himself because she is already dead. He does further research and discovers that his other patient, Felix has been dead for over 20 years. He looks into the backgrounds of all his patients and realizes that they had all died in 1987. The train drives by his window once again, and he sees all of his patients as passengers on that train. At wits' end, he turns to Duncan once more for help. Duncan tells him to remember what could have happened on July 12, 1987. Though Peter is still unable to remember and tells him that his patients must be hallucinations. Duncan smiles curtly and says, "Well, if I referred to you your patients, what would that make me?"

    Duncan vanishes, and Peter realizes that Duncan and all of his prior patients are in fact ghosts. Frantically hunting through his own previous history of July 12, 1987, Peter decides it is time to return to his roots and go back to the place in which he grew up in the year of 1987, False Creek. He returns to the countryside to the home of his father, William, a retired cop, with whom he was never close with. Their interaction is one of weak familial bonds and is very cold. William shows Peter to his room, and Peter goes through his childhood belongings, discovering an old newspaper article detailing the events of a train wreck which had happened when he was a young teenager. Peter heads out to the pub where he meets up with his old friend, Barry, a hard-swearing drunk who is struggling with depressing. When Peter tries to discuss an events which had happened in July 12, 1987. Barry becomes angry and roars at him that they had promised not to talk about it. He becomes increasingly enraged when Peter brings up the topic of ghosts and orders him to stay away from him.

    While Peter is gone, William looks through the newspaper article that Peter left on his bed and shows a sign of hidden regret and disgust upon reading it. Peter returns to the train tracks and sees a vision of a young teenage version of himself and Barry riding off on their bicycles to see a couple making out in a car, but Peter is hesitant about viewing such a thing. They hear a train coming and rush to take their bikes off the tracks but are too late, and the train becomes derailed and crashes killing 47 passengers inside. While surmising the ruins, Peter recognizes Felix and several other corpses of his patients in the wreckage.

    The vision ends, and Peter, now full of remorse turns to police headquarters after being terrorized by the ghost of Evie, Felix, and Elizabeth. He confesses his exploits as a child to Police chief Barbara Henning explaining that he "just wants to put things to rest." She tells him that her mother died in the accident, to which Peter recognizes her mother as being one of his patients. Barbara lets him off easy explaining, "Its was a crime of negligence- at worst." However, as he leaves, she eyes him curiously, knowing that there is something he is not telling her. Peter returns to his father's house and burns the newspaper article, believing his problems are now put to rest, but gets distracted when he hears a loud noise coming from the closet. Upon investigating it, he is attacked by the angry ghost of Elizabeth and falls unconscious.

    He awakens to find a curt Duncan who explains to him that he is still not remembering something of what truly happened that night on July 12, and tells him that things will never be put to rest until the true crime is revealed. Duncan explains that two bikes cannot derail a train, and that he must remember what distracted him on the day his daughter died. Peter then slowly remembers that he was distracted by a toy train set in the window of a store, which reminded him of something he had completely forgotten about on the night the train derailed. He returns to the abandoned train station to find that Barry has hung himself in there and is being feasted upon by blackbirds. Barbara questions him again and is less gentle with him now as he explains he left Barry out of the confession so as not to endanger his already poor position. Barbara advises him to call her the next time he "gets his head clear."

    Upon returning to his father's home, Peter examines the partially burned newspaper article for further clues and realizes that Elizabeth Valentine had been missing several days prior to the derailment and that her dead body was on the train. Peter visits Barbara and relays some remembered truth as well as the fact that he is haunted by ghosts. When Barbara doubts him, Peter tells her of her mother and several attributes only Barbara would remember which upsets Barbara who orders him to leave and go home. Peter is about to take her advise when he finds Elizabeth's doll in his car. He then drives back to the place of derailment and retraces his steps as a child through the dark woods. He follows Elizabeth's ghost to the abandoned train station where he discovers that as a child, before the derailment had taken place he noticed Elizabeth leave to car he and Barry were spying on. He recognized his father, William, Lieutenant at the time chase after Elizabeth and drag her into the train station.

    Peter had followed them and saw his father beat down and rape Elizabeth to death, inadvertently causing a derailment when Elizabeth pulled back on on of the train track levers as she was trying to evade William. Peter had watched all this and was unable to react due to the sheer horror and trauma. He then watched as his father took the corpse of Elizabeth and lay her in the seat alongside all the corpses of the train wreck. Peter had then suffered from anterogrode amnesia. His memory now returned, Peter returns to his father ordering him to turn himself in, saying that he knows about his father's closeted pedophilia and murders. But unknown to Peter, William had been interviewed by Barbara who had pieced the story together for herself and had gone to confront him. William and beaten her unconscious and despite being sexually attracted to her unconscious form, decides to kill her. Peter distracts him and the two fight before William barely manages to knock him unconscious as well.

    Peter awakens in the car tied up alongside Barbara as William is driving them up to the river hoping to dump them in. However, Elizabeth appears on the road in front of the car and startles William into swerving the car and losing control. The car lands on the train tracks. Peter's body is flung from the car and he retrieves a his father's gun which was also flung from the car. He fires at the car and unlocks the back door, helping Barbara escape. An oncoming train comes barreling down the tracks and William attempts to escape the car but is dragged back inside by an angry Elizabeth and killed. The train strikes the car and tears it apart leaving nothing more left of it but debris, before rolling unharmed down the train tracks. Peter and Barbara escape unharmed. Peter sees all the ghosts he had been haunted by before on the train screaming at first, but then calming down with peace as the train leaves. He then sees a peaceful Elizabeth smile at him for the first time before walking off down the road.

    In the last scene, Peter is sitting on a beach side with the ghost of his daughter Evie who smiles at him. She stands up and kisses him on the forehead before walking off, disappearing into the distance. Peter's now lively wife comes and sits nearby him asking, "What are you thinking about?" Peter smiles for the first time in the film and says, "Kids," implying that he is ready to try starting a new family with his wife.

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