• Guy Jeffries

Flatliners (2017) Review


Director: Niels Arden Oplev.

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

Now, I wasn't overwhelmed with the original and I have to confirm to quell speculation of this being a sequel is false. Yes, Kiefer Sutherland has a small role but plays a different character. I can only imagine this to be a nod to the original but unfortunately there's a danger with it being misleading, hinting at some sort of connection but no, it's a straight forward reboot.

It credits Peter Filardi, the original writer so the core of the story stays very much the same and keeps to the same formula making it slightly predictable apart from a couple of major and welcome tweaks. There's plenty echoed from the original, including some repeated lines which felt more clichéd than respectable nods to the previous film.

For those of you who haven't seen the original, the story follows a group of medical students who go in pursuit of scientific answers in near death experiences, risking not only their future professions and scholarships, but most importantly, their lives as well. (I've basically copy/pasted this bit from my review of the original) but doing so, each of them bring back something from their pasts that haunts them to brink of madness.

Even with the changes and paraphrasing of the story, it's sadly very lazy scriptwriting and makes me wonder how much, or how little work was put into this and I wonder how or why Oplev got into the project. Even the casting seems half-hearted with Page leading a cast of up-and-coming stars, though none of them really having any wow factor. Ah, this might explain the purpose of Sutherland's role, maybe inciting intrigue. Their performances are good enough, but there's really nothing that makes this a memorable film. None of the characters were really likeable but I suppose that's the danger of focusing on their flaws and sins instead of what's actually nice about them.

The pacing is a little off, making the characters fall into the story all too easily and there's a lack of empathy and belief with how the story pans out, totally ignoring the religious implications that the original skirted around. And again, this one doesn't really provide any real conclusion either. It is a little more scientific with a heavy use of medical terminology thrown in for authenticity sake, however, I can see this angering a lot of viewers in the medical field with it's inaccuracies of defibrillation, intubation and asystole rhythms.

Where it does improve on the original is having some decent jump scares, a lot more than its predecessor. This one is worthy of the horror element but nothing impactful or anything new. Like everything else, it feels diluted. Even visually, it's very basic and certainly won't be earning any nominations like the first film did. Instead of the use of colour to prompt change, it uses brightness which is hardly creative.

It's disjointed, flaps quite a bit and is actually very flat throughout. It's a typically cheap remake that offers absolutely nothing new and might only disappoint fans of the original. It's just another fine example of regurgitated unoriginality from the big studios.

Running Time: 6

The Cast: 6

Performance: 6

Direction: 6

Story: 6

Script: 4

Creativity: 4

Soundtrack: 4

Job Description: 2

The Extra Bonus Point: 0

44% 4/10

#NielsArdenOplev #EllenPage #DiegoLuna #NinaDobrev #JamesNorton #KierseyClemons #KieferSutherland #PeterFilardi #NathanBarr