FLASHBACK (2020) Reviews of mystery thriller with release news

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Flashback is a 2020 Canadian mystery thriller about a young man who literally and metaphorically journeys into his past.

Written and directed by Christopher MacBride (The Conspiracy), the Resolute Films and Entertainment production stars Dylan O’Brien (The Maze Runner franchise; Teen Wolf), Maika Monroe (It Follows) and Hannah Gross (Joker), Emory Cohen and Keir Gilchrist (It Follows).


Fredrick Fitzell (Dylan O’Brien) is living his best life ― until he starts having horrific visions of Cindy (Maika Monroe), a girl who vanished in high school.

After reaching out to old friends with whom he used to take a mystery drug called Mercury, Fredrick realises the only way to stop the visions lies deep within his own memories, so he embarks on a terrifying mental odyssey to learn the truth…

Release date:

In the USA, Flashback will be released by Lionsgate theatrically in select locations and on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital on June 8th 2021.


Flashback, with its flaws, is still a film worthy of giving a go. Its ambition to try something new with an intriguing young cast packs a punch when it needs to. It delivers something that films at the cinema may be missing, so if you are after a mind-bending film that may make your head hurt (for the right reasons) then give this one a go.” All Things Movies

“With excellent sound design, some good visuals and, as it draws to its climax, some well-edited sequences it’s not without its moments. With hints of Jacobs Ladder, the structure of the film will infuriate some with its disjointed narrative structure and its puzzling story will require multiple viewings of an ambitious and complex film about.” Any Good Films?

“At its heart is a grounding performance from O’Brien who provides the anchor whilst events spiral out of control around him. Christopher MacBride’s second feature probably tries to do a little too much and the time-hopping narrative can be difficult to follow at times, but Flashback is a fascinating memory mystery.” Backseat Mafia

“There’s no defined solution to the mystery presented here, as MacBride wants viewers to come away with different interpretations. That’s all well and good, but he’s passed on building personalities and human connections, keeping Flashback weirdly cold to the touch as he plots out a cinematic Rorschach Test, forcing O’Brien to carry the weight of the picture with a gut-rot performance that becomes monotonous while the dramatic engine of the feature struggles to turn over.” Blu-ray.com

“Dylan O’Brien undoubtedly has star quality given his previous work but feels miscast in this role. Switching between troubled teen and a stressed-out office worker, he takes on multiple incarnations of himself as the plot jumps around but none of them ring true. His character gets lost in the weird disarray, and it makes it hard to care if he succeeds or not.” Cinema Perspective

” …Steacy bathes Fred’s world in distinct colour palettes, from the neons of his awakened memories to the autumnal glow of his relationship and stark white of his career. As to how audiences will relate, that will depend on the individual. But, one thing is for sure, Flashback thoroughly deserves your attention in a crowded online marketplace of delayed releases.” Cinerama Film Online

Flashback is not necessarily profound by any means (characterization doesn’t even feel like a thought, let alone an afterthought). Still, it’s an admirable stab at something challenging and imaginative that never pays off, primarily because it’s never clear what’s going on or what is meant to be taken from it beyond vague surface-level readings.” Flickering Myth

” …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.” Into: Screens

“For Flashback, similar to movies like Donnie Darko and The Matrix, you really need to pay close attention to absorb every bit of it. It rewards the close attention with a slow-burn setup leading to a jaw-dropping conclusion. It is a bold and brilliant indie led by a terrific ensemble, and Dylan O’Brien (who is playing a teenage high-schooler for maybe the final time) at his frantic, disheveled best.” Josh at the Movies

” …a dazzling compilation of blinding lights and terrifying spliced images that will haunt you more than the actual idea of a drug like Mercury existing. Flashback is not a film for those who react badly to jump scares, blinding lights and distortions. The film artfully masters how to visualize the experience of a bad trip.” Loud and Clear

“[The] climax resolves a subplot in a manner that suggests MacBride may be exorcising some personal demons of his own and like his young hero, trying to atone for some past regrets. I’m all for filmmakers using their work as a form of personal therapy, but it needs to connect with the audience in a way Flashback never quite manages.” The Movie Waffler

“The last half hour opens up to the possibilities of choose-your-own-adventures-style branching timelines, a mutable, changeable past, alternate futures (some dire, some not so dire, some more or less attractive than others) before settling on what seems like a disappointingly definitive, status quo-embracing ending that feels like it betrays everything that preceded it, maybe because it does.” Screen Anarchy

” …Flashback is an impressively executed puzzle. At its core, it almost works better as an expression of intent than a fully formed piece; raw, uncut, and entirely reliant on the viewer doing the work, intellectually and emotionally.” Starburst

Cast and characters:

Dylan O’Brien … Fredrick Fitzell
Maika Monroe … Cindy
Hannah Gross … Karen
Keir Gilchrist … Andre
Amanda Brugel … Evelyn
Emory Cohen … Sebastian
Aaron Poole … Pierced Man
Josh Cruddas … Twenty Something
Sima Fisher … Dancer
Liisa Repo-Martell … Mrs. Fitzell
Ian Matthews … Vincent
Maika Harper … Tattooed Woman
Donald Burda … Doctor Phillips
Landon Norris … Scarred Man (voice)
Jackie English … Violet

Filming locations:

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Working titles:

The Education of Frederick Fitzell and Inversion


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