backtrack still

I don’t believe in ghosts, because I’ve never seen any indisputable proof that they’re real. Similarly, I previously didn’t believe in Australian director Michael Petroni’s paranormal thriller Backtrack, because I didn’t even know it existed. However, See Pictures recently revealed that the film has been in production for about a week now, and released the first look as a way of proving it. The ghost world should take a hint and post more pictures on the Internet.

Backtrack will co-star Adrien Brody and Sam Neill, and will tell the story of a psychologist whose life is thrown into an uproar once he figures out that the patients that he has been treating are actually all ghosts of those who were killed in some major accident decades earlier. ScreenDaily doesn’t make it clear which of the men will be playing the psychologist, and it doesn’t really matter to me which way it goes, as long as Neill gets at least three scenes where he’s cackling madly with electricity shooting out of his eyes. I don’t think that’s asking too much, is it?

Petroni also wrote the script for Backtrack, which will also star Robin McLeavy (The Loved Ones), Jenni Baird (The 4400), Bruce Spence (Legend of the Seeker) and Anna Lise Phillips (Animal Kingdom). It doesn’t yet have a U.S. distributor, but the film will be sold next month at the European Film Market in Berlin, so here’s hoping.

Brody, who is known for choosing interesting and offbeat projects, said he was drawn to "the complexity and attention to detail in Michael’s storytelling." He also apparently thinks "the drama plays out in a nuanced manner as we explore the things that could easily haunt any man…Guilt or ghost, our past has a way of keeping us from being present." I’m pretty sure they should just quote Brody on the film’s posters, as his words do a lot to diminish any perception that this is just a run of the mill ghost thriller.

Brody will soon be seen in Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel, probably in the middle of the frame, and he’ll portray Harry Houdini for an A&E miniseries. Neill, meanwhile, has been busy with overseas crime dramas, including Australia’s Old School and the U.K.’s Peaky Blinders, and was last seen on the big screen in the action romp Escape Plan.

This is Petroni’s first film in 11 years, as he made his feature debut with 2002’s romantic drama Till Human Voices Wake Us, starring Guy Pearce and Helena Bonham Carter. He has been more prolific as a screenwriter, having written The Book Thief, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader and a couple of possession horrors. Check out the trailer for his first film below, and just pretend like all the characters except one are ghosts.

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