Backstroke: The Viral Horror Sensation Beyond Netflix’s Reach

by Tara Price

7th April, 2024

Backstroke: The Viral Horror Sensation Beyond Netflix's Reach

Backstroke, the horror short film that has taken the entertainment world by storm, stands out as a riveting narrative centered around two runaway teenagers, Amber and Jake, whose escapade to Florida takes a harrowing turn.

This film, which has garnered attention as one of the new movies making waves outside the conventional streaming platforms, intricately weaves elements of suspense and the supernatural, positioning itself among the best horror movies for enthusiasts seeking a thrilling cinematic experience.

Shemar Jonas and Josefine Christoffersen in Backstroke (2017)
Shemar Jonas and Josefine Christoffersen in Backstroke (2017)

The Backstroke Phenomenon: A Viral Sensation

The film’s journey to viral fame is a testament to the unprecedented power of social media in the digital age.

A four-minute version of Backstroke, significantly condensed yet gripping, found its way onto TikTok, captivating viewers with its suspense-laden narrative and unique storytelling approach.

Despite the alterations, including an electronic music overlay and somewhat mismatched subtitles, this version sparked widespread curiosity and discussions, driving viewers to seek out the original film in search of the full story.

The Original Backstroke: A Free Movie on YouTube

Amidst the buzz and speculation about its inclusion among Netflix’s best movies, it’s crucial to clarify that Backstroke is not available on Netflix.

Instead, the complete 10-minute short film, released in 2019, is accessible for free on YouTube through the ‘Alter’ channel.

This revelation often comes as a surprise to many who, misled by the TikTok version’s implications, scoured Netflix in vain for this hidden gem.

Deciphering Backstroke: Delving into the Plot

The plot of Backstroke is both intriguing and unsettling, featuring the young protagonists, Amber and Jake, portrayed compellingly by Josefine Christoffersen and Shemar Jonas.

Their adventure begins with a stolen car and a reckless drive to Florida, a setting that soon reveals its darker side.

The film takes a twisted turn when Amber, indulging in a moment of carefree abandon, decides to skinny-dip, urging Jake to count with his eyes closed.

This serene moment is abruptly disrupted by the appearance of a mysterious man, played by Tom Frank, who confronts Amber with eerie questions and the alarming claim that Jake is dead.

The ensuing tension and uncertainty propel the narrative forward, culminating in a climax that leaves viewers pondering the fate of the characters and the film’s underlying themes.

The Backstroke Movie Experience: Beyond the Viral TikTok Edit

While the TikTok version of Backstroke has undoubtedly contributed to the film’s popularity, it is the original version on YouTube that offers a comprehensive and authentic cinematic experience.

This version, free from the alterations and truncations of the viral edit, presents the narrative in its intended form, allowing viewers to fully appreciate the depth of the plot and the filmmaker’s artistic vision.

Despite not being featured among mainstream streaming services’ new movies or categorized as one of Netflix’s best movies, Backstroke’s success underscores the significant role of social media in elevating and popularizing cinematic content, particularly in the realm of short films.

The Lasting Impact of Backstroke

With a runtime of just 10 minutes, Backstroke demonstrates the profound impact a short film can achieve in the era of digital media, highlighting the role of platforms like TikTok in promoting content and engaging audiences.

The film’s journey from a viral TikTok sensation to a celebrated piece on YouTube illustrates the evolving dynamics of film distribution and consumption, challenging traditional notions of how and where cinematic stories are discovered and appreciated.

With its compelling plot, suspenseful narrative, and the significant buzz it has generated, Backstroke has firmly established itself as a noteworthy contribution to the world of short horror films, leaving an indelible mark on the entertainment landscape and offering a glimpse into the future of film storytelling.

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