Apart from the gore and jump scares, a horror film seems more dangerous if it has a deeper meaning that can give you the creeps. This is what writer-director Jed Shepherd intends to do in his short film ‘Flashback.’ It depicts the seemingly ordinary life of a yoga instructor, with plenty of chills in the middle, thanks to her best friend and soft toy, Dr. Bones. Jess has waited all her life, preparing herself and others for the moment before death when instances from a person’s life flash in front of them. This also helps her travel through time when there’s a need. But apart from the suspicious creature haunting her, there’s a number we see a little too often. With Dr. Bones comes the number 8:26, which raises too many questions. SPOILERS AHEAD!
What Does 8:26 Mean in Flashback?
From the very beginning, when Jess starts noticing a vague figure haunting her that looks a lot like Dr. Bones, the number 8:26 is clearly flashing on its chest, indicating that it’s something important. Her Dr. Bones soft toy, which creeps everyone out except Jess, also has the same number plastered over it, which is also the time of her alarm when she wakes up and the time she dies. In hindsight, this number seems like a warning for Jess before she and her boyfriend Scott die, and also her saving grace. Since Jess seems to share a special bond with Dr. Bones, the Grim Reaper-like figure, instead of leading her to death, helps her escape it through time travel.
This could also be a reference to the number outside the bounds of the film in the real world. In numerology, 826 is actually a special angel number believed to be a sign from guardian angels assuring the person who sees it that there’s hope beyond their loneliness. The number also indicates success and acts as a sign of comfort for those in need. In ‘Flashback’ too, Jess sees the number on Dr. Bones before she is about to die, but instead of being a bad omen for her, Dr. Bones, in a way, seems to become a guardian angel for her, saving her from her destiny of a certain and violent death at a very young age. 826 also indicates that the person is destined for great things, which is probably why Jess is able to pull off time travel and save the love of her life in a crucial moment.
Since the solution for dealing with supernatural entities in horror movies is mostly connected with Christianity, the Bible also plays a huge role. This number also refers to a verse in the Bible, Luke 8:26, where Jesus helps a man get rid of the demons possessing him, thereby offering him a second chance at life. In a similar manner, Jess also gets a second chance thanks to the warning of Dr. Bones, who also comes to rescue her past self to transport her to 2022 again. While it might not be a happy ending for Jess, it feels like the right choice for her since she has always been obsessed with the specific change in her life she would make at the time of her death if she had the chance to do it.