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
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.
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.
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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