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"Flatliners" (2017) Movie Review

Updated on December 17, 2021
Alec Zander profile image

Nathan is a film critic and aspiring author with a true passion for the film industry who hopes his writings will help launch his career.

Flatliners is a 2017 re-imagining of the 1990 film of the same name. It is NOT a sequel to the original as previously advertised. Kiefer Sutherland returned for the new film but as a completely different character. He is not reprising his former role in any way. He's only there as a reference to the original. I am not going to compare and contrast the two because they are really two separate films with a similar plot. The new one doesn't try to remake or outdo the original. It is instead its own film. For the most part, the film succeeds but it does fall short due to some cliché horror flick moments.

Flatliners centers around a group of five med students who are curious to find out what happens after death. They decide to experiment with it by having one member of the group each night have their heart stopped and then restarted after two minutes. It seems like a fun experiment at first but soon they start having hallucinations of their biggest mistakes in life.

I loved how this film really dug into the characters' pasts. It missed the opportunity of heavy emotion but it at least offered a deep backstory for each of the characters. The hallucinations were well-done and looked astounding. The directing was what stood out the most though. Niels Arden Oplev is an absolute genius and did a fantastic job.

The big problem I had with the film was that it relied too heavily on two things: partying and jump-scares. I hated that every time one of the group members came back from the dead, the first thing they wanted to do was party and get wasted. Seriously, you should be reflecting on what you experienced and figuring out what the next move in your experiment would be, not getting hammered. As for the jump-scares, I mean, come on every thriller and horror has done that. Every single one. That doesn't mean you should continue doing it. Figure out a better way to present the material. Don't follow everyone else.

In conclusion, I did enjoy the film. It wasn't better or worse than the original, nor did it try to be. It was its own film. It has an intriguing story and makes you wonder what you would see if you were a part of their group. Who do you need to make amends with before you die? I give the film 2.5 out of 4.

© 2017 Nathan Jasper


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