Drugs can do a number on you. Especially when you start questioning time and reality. Flashback puts Dylan O’Brien in the middle of an existential crisis, while he tries to pick up the pieces of his past. Or is he?

We meet Frank (O’Brien – Teen Wolf) as an adult, waking up from a recurring nightmare. A memory actually, one he can’t fully remember but is pretty sure it happened. Through flashbacks he tries to relive his time in high school and reconnects with the people he’s long left behind. A drug called mercury used to do rounds and it’s after taking this mysterious hallucinant, he never really understood why he thinks the thoughts he has and does the things he does. It’s when Frank really starts digging up the over-a-decade-old past, he loses control of his own reality and sanity.

Writer/director Christopher MacBride‘s sophomore feature has the ingredients of a solid indie time bender, but where some movies don’t necessarily require an ending filled with answers, this one just needed a little bit of that. It gets very confusing at some point, and comparisons to The Matrix and Limitless are easily made, although Flashback has enough goodies to stand on its own.

Especially the performances of the main cast, lead by O’Brien are impressive. Maika Monroe gives one of her best performances since It Follows, while it still baffles me Emory Cohen (Brooklyn) isn’t a bigger star by now. The editing is where Flashback really stands out, delivering some trippy visuals by blending different sequences together and pushing the tension to another level.

Flashback requires your full attention, which means you’re either in or out. An intriguing but confusing tale about choosing your own destiny, even if it means going all the way back to the beginning, destroying everything you’ve built.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Vertigo Releasing presents FLASHBACK on digital platforms 4 June 2021

Review – Flashback

Reviewed online (screener provided by Vertigo Releasing), May 30, 2021. Rating: MA15+. Running time: 97 min.

PRODUCTION: (UK) A Vertigo Releasing release of a Resolute Films and Entertainment production in association with Trinity Media Financing. Producer: Lee Kim. Executive producers: Russell Ackerman, Morgan Emmery, Jean-Charles Levy, John Schoenfelder.

CREW: Director/writer: Christopher MacBride. Cinematography: Brendan Steacy. Editing: Matt Lyon. Music: Anthony Scott Priest, Pilotpriest.

CAST: Dylan O’Brien, Maika Monroe, Emory Cohen, Amanda Brugel, Hannah Gross, Keir Gilchrist, Liisa Repo-Martell, Ian Matthews, Jackie English.

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