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Film review: Flatliners – Ellen Page, Diego Luna in lifeless remake of lame 1990 thriller

This low-budget remake of the original film starring Julia Roberts, Kiefer Sutherland and Kevin Bacon, about medical students who die under supervision and are then revived, completely fails to raise a pulse

PUBLISHED : Monday, 30 October, 2017, 6:01pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 22 November, 2017, 3:02pm

2/5 stars

The 1990 Flatliners was a boring supernatural thriller that few people liked, so why anyone would remake it is a mystery in itself. This is a dull watch made less exciting by the low budget: the bulk of it appears to have been shot in a basement, and the needed special effects are almost non-existent.

Flatliners updates the original story, which follows five medical students as they try to improve their research CVs by flatlining – that is, dying under medical supervision for a couple of minutes, then being shocked back to life.

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In one of many unexplained ideas, the experience seems to give them heightened powers of concentration and perception. But the protagonists find that they have to pay a price for their new-found powers, when guilty secrets from the past start to materialise and hunt them down.

Flatliners would have been more palatable if the med students weren’t such selfish brats; it’s difficult to think of a more self-centred bunch of characters. Indeed, the whole premise behind the film is that you should just forgive yourself for the bad things you’ve done to others.

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The original film’s claim to fame is that it featured a bunch of young stars – Julia Roberts, Kiefer Sutherland, Kevin Bacon and Oliver Platt – working together in the early days of their careers. But it’s unlikely the new crew, led by Ellen Page and Diego Luna, will have their predecessors’ staying power.

Sutherland has a few walk-on scenes here as a doctor, but his role has nothing to do with the original one.

Flatliners opens on November 2

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