Posted Sep 30 2017

Flatliners - This Remake (Not A Sequel After All) Movie Just Does Not Rock. Flatlines Even

Dir: Niels Arden Oplev

Starring Ellen Page, James Norton, Diego Luna, Nina Dobrev, Kiersey Clemons, Kiefer Sutherland

So, once again using the Hollywood logic that dictates that any even vague form of brand recognition must add up to bums on seats, a major studio has decided to remake a movie with a name they hope people will remember. Once again, that movie – in this case Flatliners (a remake of the 1990 Joel Schumacher film which hardly set the world on fire first time around), has already tanked at the box office. And with good cause.

This time round, the then much more zeitgesity cast of Julia Roberts, Kiefer Sutherland (they were engaged at the time!), Kevin Bacon and more are replaced by the less “happening” but still decent team of Page, Luna, Norton etc. The presence of a white haired Sutherland suggested this was some sort of sequel, but given his character name is different than before, this is clearly just a remake, in which another group of supposedly bright (but not too bright) medical students decide to get their buddies to clinically kill them – so they can go to the afterlife and come back to talk about it. As before, when they come back – they are not alone. Unlike before, they come back a combo of hedonistic and horny, with enough increased brain activity to ace their upcoming exams.

The one thing that the 27 years in between the two versions clearly shows is that those behind this new version clearly haven’t learnt much from the flaws of the original. It’s still daft as a brush and not very well executed. As the film unspools, events become random (almost as if the final edit was a bit too severe) and it can’t help but hurtle towards a series of climaxes that are increasingly facile and ridiculous as they unfold. That said, the cast is strong – Page and Luna in particular, with Norton making a decent enough transition from British TV to the vapid Hollywood hunk domain, and both Clemons and Dobrev acquitting themselves well.

But, basically, the all-new Flatliners just simply isn’t any good. But don’t sweat it – the all-old Flatliners was any good either.

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