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By Steve Anderson | May 26, 2004

Filmed apparently in Germany, we start with the most deranged opening sequence I’ve ever seen.

A girl and her terminally h***y boyfriend share a little friendly banter on a train ride. The boy calls her a tease and of course, she immediately disproves him by collapsing to her back on the train seat. The train goes through a tunnel (LOVE the ironic symbolism!) and the next thing we know, somehow, the boyfriend is dead and the girl’s about to take a sickle to the neck.

Can you believe this for even the vaguest of moments? Someone managed to not only enter a train car but also kill a person silently enough for no one to notice.

Unfathomably, we jump cut to a family on vacation, a man, his daughter Jeanette, and his lovely and very French wife, Michelle. The power goes off in the night, and Michelle goes to sleep. When she wakes up to the power coming back on, she goes off to her mother’s room. And boy, is there trouble down there. Our sickle killer is in the room, her father dead on the floor, her mother bare inches from dying herself. Jeanette sprints for the door, and is only seconds from dying .

Jeanette wakes up, about ten years older, being psychoanalyzed. Somehow she’s in the middle of a mental institution, and about to be released. Released, in fact, to be a private French tutor, and she’s also being stalked once again by the Crossdressing Sickle Killer.

You know, the more I say it, the more ludicrous it sounds. A crossdressing, sickle-toting serial killer who can appear and disappear in the space of seconds in total disregard for the laws of physics? It’s like Jason, but somehow repulsive. I don’t know how they do it in Germany, but over here in the States we like our killers to be huge, manly, and very, very insane! Well…I guess one out of three isn’t all that bad.

But hey…since we’ve got sort of a substandard villain anyway, we might as well give him a real softball in terms of victims. And indeed, we have a serious cakewalk for a serial killer…Jeanette, our French tutor, and three rich, spoiled teenagers almost alone in a house–with a housekeeper.

And these kids are serious horror lightweights. They’re watching a movie with a killer that looks strangely like the Predator sans helmet, complete with movable mouth parts, and they’re jumping in their seats every fifteen seconds. Screaming, throwing popcorn…all except for the eldest girl in our story…she’s busily talking on a cell phone to her friend, also in the theatre, about the movie! It’s like watching a German Paris Hilton knockoff.

Man, when they actually get STALKED by a serial killer, the killer won’t even need to get his sickle dirty. They’ll all die of fright after he knocks on the windowglass in a thunderstorm.

And in fact, the Crossdressing Sickle Killer almost kills the four of them off without even raising his blade. He stands out in the middle of the road, and as the kids drive by, they swerve to avoid him and nearly flip their Jeep.

Remember the best friend from the theatre? Turns out this little charmer’s name is Ella. Ella isn’t the brightest bulb in the display case…she goes wandering on her own through what looks like a graveyard with only her tiny little dog Xavier for protection. Of course, the walking cotton ball doesn’t last very long against the Crossdressing Sickle Killer. And Ella’s next.

And the police force doesn’t make things any harder for the Crossdressing Sickle Killer. I swear, MAYBERRY has a better police force than this place. The local cops, which consist of guys who make Chuck and Bobby from the Ernest movies look competent, gloss over every suspicious thing they drive past, run across, or that occurs in their neighborhood. The Crossdressing Sickle Killer could kill a guy right on top of their newest box of donuts, and they would arrest the corpse for damaging the donuts!

You know, if Jason were over there, he’d have ripped apart half the country and made the Crossdressing Sickle Killer hold his machete with his own crossdressing small intestine in, oh, let’s make it a conservative estimate here…say, three hours?

Jeanette goes positively daffy as a result of a practical joke, and she begins her own little murder spree by introducing a cat to a blender. And then, the truly bizarre twist ending kicks into high gear. I won’t tell you about it, but you should probably see it.

It defies explanation.

And WHO did the film editing? The characters’ mouths don’t even sync with their dialogue! I haven’t seen a dub this obvious since my last feverish bout with Sailor Moon.

You don’t get much in the way of extras–just some audio options and a set of trailers for clicking on the Lion’s Gate logo.

Flashback is quite possibly the best party horror film released in the last several years. Fans of Mystery Science Theatre 3000 will love this–it’s positively terrific mistie fodder. It is one of the most unintentionally FUNNY movies I’ve seen in a long time. Making fun of it is almost overkill–the movie’s very existance is self-deprecation enough.

Flashback will stand for quite some time to come as the bloodiest comedy with minor horrific elements since Dead Alive.

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