In the race to find the movie remake that no one was asking for, Flatliners (2017) is the definitive winner. Despite featuring a talented young cast and an interesting premise, its a fairly middling horror film lacking much of a pulse.
Flatliners (2017) follows five medical students who embark on a daring experiment in which they stop their hearts to experience death for a short minute. While this proves to be a thrilling experience, it proves to have a dangerous downfall.
I was surprised in seeing the trailer just how many talented actors were involved with this remake, as it gave me some foolish optimism. Ellen Paige continues to be a great actress deserving of more roles, and she does here best with what she has to work with here. Diego Luna, Nina Dobrev, James Norton, and Keirsey Clemons are all solid as the other young doctors.
Flatliners does have some strong moments. Director Niels Adren Oplev (Dead Man Down) may be a director for hire, but he does have visually-arresting ways of capturing the flatlining process. The opening third of the movie in general was surprisingly entertaining, as its enthralling to see these doctors explore the undefinable afterlife.
After that, the film gets rocky fast. Instead of embracing the interesting quirks of the premise or making a film with some actual intelligence, Flatliners becomes a bore of a horror flick. Obvious jump scares and irrational character motives destroy Ben Ripley’s script from ever being genuine. These are suppose to be educated doctors, so why are they continually making the worst possible decisions?
At the core of the film, these characters just aren’t very likable. The film tries to insert a message about forgiveness as each of the doctors is faced with the bad behavior of their past, but its wrapped up so cleanly that it never makes an impact. Aside from Ray (Diego Luna), every character acts selflessly and only wants to confess to rid themselves of guilt, which makes their transition all the less meaningful.
A Flatliners remake could have worked, as the original is an interesting film at its core. This attempt however is a miss, taking a risky and interesting premise and matching it with bland execution. Someone please give these actors a more interesting movie to work in.