Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: FLATLINERS (2017)

What is the point of doing a FLATLINERS reboot if you aren’t going to have Kiefer Sutherland play his original to help the new kids out? Instead, you are basically Ghostbusters where he’s there, plays a completely different character, and doesn’t help out in the slightest, relegating to a obligatory nostalgia cameo? Also, why the hell would you *MINOR SPOILER ALERT* kill off a character mid way thru the film for shock value, when that character was the least deserving to be killed off? *END MINOR SPOILER ALERT* While it doesn’t deserve to be 0% on Rotten Tomatoes, because the film isn’t terrible, but it isn’t good, I couldn’t help but think the entire film, “I would rather watch the shittiest episode of Grey’s Anatomy than watch this again.”

Flatliners is basically a REMAKE, not a REBOOT, of the 90s film. It’s about a group of medical students who kill themselves deliberately for several minutes to experience the afterlife and then wake themselves up. When they wake themselves up they have huge moments of clarity, brain rewiring, intelligence, and are horny as fuck. They also start to see disturbing visions that may or may not be linked to a shady past. Several cheap jumps scares and horror film cliches later, you have yourself a plain Jane of a movie, where you would rather just pop in the original, which at least had some integrity, where it didn’t treat the audience as if they were idiots and weren’t trying to make a straight up horror film.

The one thing that this film tries to bring into the fold and have an “ace up their sleeve” is the *minor spoiler alert* killing of one of the main characters half way thru the film. I am not going to reveal who it is here. Suffice to say, I thought the movie did it for plain shock value, and not to advance the plot in anyway. The character they should’ve killed off first, has the big climatic battle with their demons at the end, should’ve switched with this other character, and narratively it would’ve made a whole hell of a lot more sense. It is hard to explain without getting into spoilers, but both of these characters have sort of the same predicament, and I did really care about the character who it was happening to at the end, because this character had absolutely no character development. The other one did, and I felt completely cheated out of a well rounded story line, because this one actor/actress is hotter than the other.

If you’ve seen the original *MAJOR SPOILERS FOR THE 90s FILM*, what is happening to them is that their past misdeeds come back to haunt them in a hallucinating/demonic fashion, and they have to find the people/things they did wrong and ask for forgiveness not only from them, but from themselves. In the original, none of the characters die, and one of the main ones at the end has to do something unique and thought provoking to get rid of his/her demons. Well basically, the same thing happens here, except they do the cliche horror shit of killing off characters, where it wasn’t warranted in the slightest. I guess that wanted to be different, but if you are doing a remake, isn’t it basically just a copycat but with better effects? *END MAJOR SPOILERS FROM FIRST FILM*

It would’ve been better if Kiefer played his character from the original and was involved in the plot to help them. He’s just here as a doctor that could use a hair cut. He looks like Jack Bauer is in hiding from the Russians at the end of 24: Live Another Day. Involving him could’ve brought something cool to the film, and actually have him advance the plot more naturally, then the kids just randomly figuring shit out themselves. Also, the situations here that they need forgiveness from are kind of dumb compared to the ones in the original. I didn’t really care here at all. The acting here is okay, Ellen Page, Diego Luna, and Kiersey Clemons doing adequate with the only questionable acting coming from James Norton and Nina Dorbrev. Norton wasn’t all out terrible, but a couple of scenes I couldn’t help but think, “Hmm, they could’ve used another take on this one.” And at this point I just think that Nina Dorbrev is just a pretty face who I eventually would like to see nude. Was she even that good on Vampire Diaries?? Someone who watches that show please explain her appeal other than her looks.

But yeah, Flatliners is a quick rental or a Netflix watch, nothing more. It’s not terrible, but it is the plain Jane of horror films of 2017. If you want to watch something better, search for the original, which has a lot more integrity, heart, and a decent directing job from Joel Schumacher, who would later do the terrible Batman & Robin. This is a straight up remake, with just better effects, and some character killing, and completely not worth your movie theater money. This film wasn’t DOA, but you can’t feel its pulse at all, just paralyzingly pale.


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