The Netflix short film ‘Flashback,’ written and directed by Jed Shepherd (‘Host‘), poses an interesting question about love and sacrifice through an interesting premise. The horror short stars Jemma Moore as Jess, a yoga instructor who finds her entire life flashing before her eyes after she is attacked in a home invasion. However, when Jess realizes she can control the flashbacks and affect the past, she attempts to save the love of her life from a grim fate. If you are wondering whether Jess succeeds in her quest, here is everything you need to know about the ending of ‘Flashback.’ SPOILERS AHEAD!
Flashback Plot Synopsis
‘Flashback’ follows the story of Jess, a yoga teacher who ponders whether it is possible to change our past. During her yoga class, Jess witnesses a strange and mysterious figure observing her from a distance. Later, she talks to her best friend, Lily, about the figure and refers to it as Dr. Bones, an urban legend she has known since childhood. However, Lily dismisses the idea, and Jess returns home. In her apartment, Jess’ long-term boyfriend, Scott, plans to propose to her. Jess tells Scott about Dr. Bones, and Scott brings up the topic of having children. Jess exclaims that she is ready to take the next step with Scott, implying she wants to get married and start a family.
Jess and Scott’s seemingly paradisical life is interrupted by a sudden noise from their apartment. Jess implores Scott to investigate the noise and hears a gunshot several seconds later. Jess rushes to the scene, where she finds Scott has been shot in the head and killed. An intruder stands over Scott’s body and apologizes for shooting him for shooting Jess and killing her too. As Jess dies, she sees the same mysterious figure as before – Dr. Bones and her entire life flashes before her. Jess decides to use the chance to travel back in time and change her past to avert the tragic death of the love of her life.
Flashback Ending: How Does Jess Prevent Scott’s Death?
After learning that she and Scott meet their demise before getting to live out their lives with each other, Jess clamors to change her past. Jess blames herself for Scott’s death and wants to rectify the mistake. Therefore, when her entire life flashes before her eyes, she gains control over the flow of time by slowing down her breath and managing her emotions. Consequently, Jess finds herself back in time on her thirteenth birthday. Jess searches for Scott at her birthday party and decides to tell him the truth about their future together. Jess explains how she and Scott would go on to have a happy and loving long-term relationship that would culminate with Scott’s death. Therefore, she makes Scott promise that he will never date her to prevent him from dying in the future.
Jess runs out of time, and the grim reaper-like Dr. Bones arrives to collect her soul. Scott witnesses the sinister being, seemingly convincing him about Jess’ claims. Ultimately, Jess wakes up in the present day, going through her normal routine and no longer seeing Dr. Bones observing. Jess’ plan works, and she saves her and Scott’s life. However, she and Scott are no longer together because she meddled with the past. Instead, Scott is happily married to Lily, and they have a baby together. The short film ends as Jess decides to find her own happy ending. Jess’ plan to save Scott’s life works, but it comes at the cost of losing her life. Thus, it examines the lengths one would go to save their loved ones, even if it comes at the cost of losing them. In the end, Jess realizes that the only way to avoid the scenario where she and Scott are killed is never to start a relationship with each other. As a result, Jess is forced to sacrifice the love of her life, resulting in a bittersweet victory for the protagonist.
Who Killed Jess and Scott?
The deaths of Scott and Jess set the narrative into higher gear as the latter scrambles for a solution to stop their demise from happening. However, the circumstances of their death and the culprit remain a mystery even after the credits end. From the brief moments we see the intruder in Jess and Scott’s apartment, it is clear that the person is a robber. The intruder was surprised to find Scott at the house and pulled the trigger on him in a moment of confusion. The intruder then likely shot Jess to cover their tracks.
Although the circumstances of Jess and Scott’s death are unclear, it is evident the only way to avoid this fate is not to end up together. Thus, despite the lack of motivation or coherency behind the murders, the moment sets the narrative in motion, sending Jess along the journey of finding the strength to sacrifice being with the person she loves to save their life. Thus, the moment directly ties in with the short film’s ending, which sees Jess slightly changed as she better understands life’s meaning. Likewise, the minimal details about Jess and Scott’s killings add to the sheer tragedy of the situation and highlight the futility of trying to alter the past in any way other than making a sacrifice.