Five medical students, obsessed by what lies beyond the confines of life, embark on a daring experiment: by stopping their hearts for short periods, each triggers a near-death experience - giving them a firsthand account of the afterlife.
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Callum Keith Rennie
Medical students begin to explore the realm of near death experiences, hoping for insights. Each has their heart stopped and is revived. They begin having flashes of walking nightmares from their childhood, reflecting sins they committed or had committed against them. The experiences continue to intensify, and they begin to be physically beaten by their visions as they try and go deeper into the death experience to find a cure. Written by
Ellen Page also voiced and motion captured the lead character Jodie Holmes from the 2013 video game Beyond: Two Souls (2013). The game explores the "infraworld" which is analogous to the world after death where the souls reside. Ellen Page's character in the game also experiences supernatural activities and communicates with entities from the "other side." See more »
In the morgue when Marlo calls Courtney's cellphone, it shouldn't be able to ring because of a dead battery. Later in the movie, in the cafe we see that Courtney never stopped, and dropped her phone when she was haunted by her dead sister in her own house. So the phone never stopped filming until the battery died. See more »
[to Courtney, before flatlining her]
Now I'm going to kill you.
See more »
Look, a lot of remakes or reboots or whatever you want to call them (Rebooquel sounds like something that might come from outer space so the less said the better), they are the same because they are based on the foundations of either good or great films - sometimes they can be something else that is interesting, but with the rare exceptions they don't improve on the originals. Flatliners had the potential, however, to be something more since the 1990 Joel Schumacher film was not very good, though it certainly had its ambitions and young stars who were game for a Frankenstein-cum-Elm-Street premise. The saddest thing is the remake does nothing visually to distinguish itself, and more infuriatingly does diddly squat at the script level to find new ideas for its premise.
Think about it: you can get someone to use some medical equipment to stop your heart, wait for a minute or two (or more!) while you are dead, and then can resurrect you so one can see what you went through while in that almost-all-gone phase of deadness. Is there a "light" at the end of the tunnel, or anything else? That's the meat that the 1990 Flatliners hung itself on, and while the script was mostly (surprisingly) under-cooked, in Schumacher there were no lack of off the wall visual ideas and the production design was off-balance, but it was certainly never boring. The 2017 Flatliners from the Swedish "Dragon Tattoo" director Oprev (and written by, of all people, the guy who scripted Source Code) is not interesting visually or striking in any way. This has the visual panache of tax attorney.
There is also some major mistaking going on at the casting level; at the least when you had that movie back in the 90's, you had that cast who had charisma to burn and could play off each other well (Oliver Platt had something to prove, man!) Here, with the exception of Ellen Page, no one is really bringing anything to the table and what the filmmakers have them do through the run time is either run-of-the-mill in terms of the story, or they kill off the *one* character that could keep us engaged with the material. Oh, and Keifer Sutherland shows up as discount House, MD, and what COULD be a connection to the original film - is this a sequel, may-hap - never materializes, making it simply an easy paycheck.
Why was this made if not a chance to explore some narrative or visual possibilities in the genre? Why not make it scary and push the R rating (this is PG-13) for audiences who are ready for a dark, suspenseful psychological thriller where young medical students who should know better have to grapple with the bad s*** they've done? This Flatliners isn't interested in that, either, and each character (Page included, and I don't count Diego Luna as he's the one who doesn't go for the flatlilining, and all we know about him is he's an ex-fireman, so who cares) has one note and only one trauma they have to re-experience in their half-hallucination-half-real state. The flaws from the original are not corrected, and the laziness amplifies it all. Not to mention at 110 minutes this feels punishingly long, and when the aforementioned character is out of the picture there's another half hour to go that feels like FIVE hours.
This is bland, stale, overheated garbage that made me literally BOO in my seat once it was done, not for anyone in particular in the theater, just because I could do it. It's one thing to get a remake that disappoints simply for existing (i.e. Ghostbusters last year), but it's another when you see what could have been in the hands of a twisted, hungry auteur out to show some shocking things - picture, for example, Tarsem circa The Cell, or Leos Carax or something - or a filmmaker who might want to just use the material for a straight drama and not go for the horror, which could also be done. Instead, Flatliners is stupid when it's not dull, and yet it's not stupid often enough to be an overall enjoyably bad movie (I did laugh here and there, but too little and too late). It's everything that is wrong with what SONY is currently doing in an overlong 110 minute package.
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