Flatliners is a science fiction psychological horror film directed by Niels Arden Oplev. The film is a remake of the 1990 film of the same name and if you want to read the review of that film, click here. This one stars Ellen Page, Diego Luna, Nina Dobrev, James Norton, Kiersey Clemons, and Kiefer Sutherland.
The Story/The Direction:
This film is about five medical students who conduct experiences that essentially kill themselves to see if there is anything after death. If you have heard this before, its because the plot is the same as the prior one just with a new cast and some small differences. Like the original, it deals with themes of guilt, responsibility, repentance, and forgiveness. The gothic sci-fi horror of Schumacher is replaced with a more generic sci-fi horror from Oplev. There are some tense and interesting scenes as this film has updated the way the students analyze their brain activity. This was a good choice by Oplev to advance the times as medicine has changed since the original. But like the original, the cast is what makes this film better than it really is.
The cast is lead by Page who is Dr. Courtney Holmes who brings together the crew to experiment on themselves. Luna is the responsible Ray, Dobrev is the romantic interest of Ray, Marlo, Norton is the spoiled rich kid, and Clemons is the typical study, first medical student. As they go through the flatlining process they are able to have a better feeling towards life but that comes with unknown consequences. Luna and Page are the strong points of this film as they are able to act with what they are given pretty decently. Clemons has some decent scenes but otherwise its the same as the original.
The other actors in this film are honestly some of the problems. Dobrev is not really bad but she is very replaceable and Norton's character is absolutely terrible. Norton does an okay job at playing a character that is very annoying from the beginning. This is a shame because Norton was really good in the BBC rendition of War and Peace and hopefully he will go on to do better things after this. It didn't make any sense to have this character be this annoying and then try to make the audience feel bad for him later. However, the characters aren't even the main problem with this film. The biggest problem occurs when this film attempts to be a horror film. While the original used the environment and the experiments themselves to be scary, this film chooses to use cliche jump scares and has the characters walking alone through dark places looking to see if their visions are real or fake. It ends up being un-suspenseful as the audience can easily pick out when something will jump out at them.
Like the characters in it, the film suffers from living with ghosts from its past like direct lines such as "today is a good day to die," and Sutherland's character who is supposed to be some connection to the original? But he is a completely different character? They never really establish who he is aside from a random side character. He is too involved in the story to be more than just a cameo so why then have him at all? Essentially, the film is the exact same thing and the main question one has to ask is "why was this film ever made?" The "updates" it makes are so minuet that it makes the overall film seem pointless and unnecessary. It's not the worst film of the year and some critics are a little harsh but definitely skip it and watch the original instead.
Rating: 1.5/5.0 bowties
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