While not every film from the past can be a classic or even a cult classic, there are still tons of fan favorites out there, especially in the horror genre. In 1990 Flatliners was released. Directed by Joel Schumacher and starring a great cast of up and comers on the verge of superstardom including Kiefer Sutherland, Julia Roberts (who made Pretty Woman the same year), Kevin Bacon, William Baldwin and Oliver Platt. The film featured a cool story, some equally cool visuals and a great morality tale within the plot. Fast forward to 2017 and Hollywood’s remake machine (which I enjoy) decides it is time for Flatliners to come back to life.
Flatliners follows five medical students, Courtney (Ellen Page), Marlo (Nina Dobrev), Jamie (James Norton), Sophia (Kiersey Clemons) and Ray (Diego Luna) as they become obsessed with discovering what lies beyond death. Experimenting in the unused basement of their hospital, the five friends take turns having their hearts stopped for increasing periods of time then brought back to give accounts of their near-death experiences. But each of them experiences something that relates to undone sins in their lives, experiences that begin to haunt them in their waking lives. Now they figure out the key to setting these wrongs right before fate catches up with them and may end their lives for good.
The original Flatliners is a lot of fun and anchored by great charismatic actors and a great set up and visuals. While the remake doesn’t really live up to the original, it is not a bad movie, it is just not a movie I would ever have the desire to give repeat viewings to. The cast are all capable, especially Page and Luna, but I think where the remake missteps is in the death experiences themselves. While the original film made the experiences have a real nightmare horror quality, this film makes them just look like a slightly altered reality. They could have benefitted greatly from amping up the horror, especially with the horror genre doing so well lately and audiences really eating it up. The result is that Flatliners feels like a fairly generic film, though it is still enjoyable as a timewaster movie. Just don’t expect it to change your life. Or death.