“It’s a great day to die!” – Jamie, the evening he was flatlined
If you have intentions of watching the 2017 remake of Flatliners, I highly suggest that you reconsider and re-evaluate your movie options. The box-office failure stars some well-known actors and actresses such as Ellen Page (Juno) and Diego Luna (Rogue One), had a $19-million budget (made $2-million opening weekend), and scored a solid 2% on Rotten Tomatos. Unfortunately, they did little to contribute to the movie’s success or to shock it back to life to unfold and showcase an interesting and complex story line. I wish I could tell you that the worst thing about this movie is the lack of a plot line or failure in character development but then I wouldn’t be doing my job.
Five medical students go on a dangerous experiment to gain insight into the mystery of what happens after you die. The unsafe experiment begins when they trigger near-death experiences by stopping their hearts for short periods of time. As their trials become more perilous, each must confront the sins from their past while facing the paranormal consequences of journeying to the other side. However, the sins of the people are not fully explained — which is irritating and makes it incredibly difficult to want to root for any of the characters. The movie opens on Ellen Page’s character driving with a young girl who is presumably her younger sister. Page makes the mistake of checking her phone while driving which ultimately results in her crashing her car into the side of a bridge and flipping into a lake – causing the younger sister to die while Page manages to get out of the sinking vehicle. The movie flashes forward nine years and shines light on Page’s character, who is studying to become a doctor, and her cohort of four other individuals who also lack in the character development department. While the movie started out with a crashing bang (literally — Page’s character flipped her car into a lake) it failed to provide an explanation of the relation between Page’s character and the younger girl and leaves you to assume that they were siblings. It does not shed light on the car crash until right before Page’s character dies.
The overall premise of the movie is that young childhood trauma prompts Page’s character to be interested in the concept of the afterlife. She has one of her coworkers stop her heart and then bring her back to life so she can see if there is indeed an afterlife of some sort. Afterwards, she can magically play the piano and can recall even the most minute details. Because of this she was suddenly excelling in areas that she had not been successful in before, prompting her coworkers to want to do the same. Page had her heart stop for one minute and her coworkers wanted to have theirs stopped for a longer amount of time. In spite of their medical training, it comes as something of a surprise to our “heroes” to learn that temporarily killing themselves might bring about unintended consequences, and all of them begin to experience spooky visions and hallucinations. It takes them an incredibly and unreasonably long time to figure out why this is happening, and the film promptly devolves from a goofy ‘90s throwback into a thoroughly flat movie filled with cheesy jump scares and plenty of angry figures with dark eye makeup glowering in doorways.
In my previous movie reviews, I list what I liked and did not like about a film. Unfortunately, there is not much I can say that I liked about this film. I did like the concept of trying to figure out what happens after a person dies. I guess the thing that I liked most about this movie was when the end credits sequence appeared on the screen. Because there was a lot about this movie that I disliked, I will not go into too much detail about it. I disliked the lack of background information on the characters. If there had been more, such as knowing what their sins that they had to confront were, it would have made it possible to like these characters. Because there wasn’t, to me, it wasn’t even remotely possible to
The movie barely started out strong, and continued to end dull. In other words, the original Flatliners movie should have had a ‘Do Not Resuscitate’ order attached to it to save the director and cast dignity.