This is where we are as a society where instead of coming up with original ideas, we reboot other films and we don’t go that far back for source material. This time, we’re going back to 1990 to reboot Flatliners, a film that was released months before I was born. I haven’t seen it but I don’t imagine being too different from this one.
Synopsis: Five medical students, obsessed by the mystery of what lies beyond the confines of life, embark on a daring and dangerous experiment: by stopping their hearts for short periods of time, each triggers a near-death experience – giving them a firsthand account of the afterlife. But as their experiments become increasingly dangerous, they are each haunted by the sins of their pasts, brought on by the paranormal consequences of trespassing to the other side. (Sony Pictures)
Starring: Ellen Page, Diego Luna, Nina Dobrev
Writer: Ben Ripley
Director: Niels Arden Oplev
Rating: 14A (Canada)/PG-13 (United States)
Running Time: 110mins
For showtimes and more, check out Flatliners on movietimes.com.
Those wondering what this new film has in relation to the earlier film, the answer is absolutely none. Kiefer Sutherland does appear as his character in the previous film, Dr. Barry Wolfson, but this was more as a glorified cameo that added nothing to the story. Now the story for this film is pretty much the same as the first film (as far as I’ve read) with five competitive medical students experimenting on themselves by temporarily stopping their hearts to trigger their own near-death experiences.
At first this experience appears to give them new abilities that of course goes terribly wrong. The main problem with the film was the unlikability of the characters, making it difficult to connect with them on an emotional level. The film had an interesting start with the main character, Courtney (Page), losing her sister in a tragic car accident but her storyline gets dropped later on for no reason. She was the most developed character as the others didn’t go beyond their cliches.
The story here had a lot of pieces but the incoherent plot and the writing failed to adequately connect them together. Once the flatlining and its aftermath began, the film devolved and got incredibly silly and made little sense. The consequence of this was to face the sins of their past which weren’t really sins because of how the characters were depicted. The supernatural element behind this was standard fare and not particularly scary. For the most part, none of the characters were in any danger thus making their so called lessons feel hollow.
The acting was okay all around despite the problems with the plot and the writing. The main cast (Page, Diego Luna, Nina Dobrev, James Norton, and Kiersey Clemons) had decent chemistry which made them fun to watch together. It would have been nice if they had a little more to work with.
Overall, this was a mediocre horror thriller with a great cast that is brought down by a mediocre script and an incoherent, bordering on stupid, story. Fans of the original film might enjoy this but this was just more of the same.