Flatliners is not a sequel to the 1990’s film of the same name, but a pointless, shambling remake that should have been left for dead. The original film had a great premise and plenty of thrills and jeopardy. We believed in the situation, despite itself, and we were engaged enough to care about the outcome. This soulless retread, has none of the charm of the first film and is just a chaotic mess.
Our 5 student medical doctors that stumble into experiencing near, and actual death experiences, find themselves trapped in a living nightmare as their sordid pasts creep up, like cheap jump scares, and shock them into confronting their mistakes. How any of them got as far as they did in their medical training is a mystery, as none of them look as if they could be trusted with a stethoscope, never mind a defibrillator, and there are edits in this final cut that are jarring and just downright lazy.
There are two set pieces that occur in the second reel, that have no resolution at all, so when we see the charcters involved in the next scene, it is so jarring you start to think you must have dropped off and missed something. The scares are cliched and you will have seen them all before, and the finale seems rushed, cheap and confusing.
The appearance of Kiefer Sutherland in the first reel had me hoping for the best as I began to wonder if he was perhaps reprising his role from the first film, but nope, he phoned in his performance then disappeared without adding anything to the plot whatsoever.
I’m sure initially this film must have been promoted as a sequel to the original. I can’t think why they would include Kiefer Sutherland in the production unless they had an idea that this could be a follow up, but this is just another remake. As far as the rest of the cast goes,Ellen Page just looks bored and frustrated and James Norton wears possibly the worst piece of knitwear ever seen on the big screen. Everyone else is going through the motions.
I wanted, for sheer nostalgia, to like this film, but it’s a dreary mess. The cast deserved better and so did the paying audience. Do yourself a favor and watch the original, it’s not brilliant, but it’s better than this.