This post was written by Colin Free on October 10, 2017
I think the original Flatliners (1990) is held in such high regard because of the cast. I thought it was pretty average at the time, and don’t expect it to have held up that well. So, I was more curious than sceptical when this new version was announced.
Once again, a group of young doctors start experiments where they stop their hearts for a few minutes at a time, to gain understanding of what a near death experience is like. The experiments initially seem to work, but then, those that have undergone them start suffering strange side effects.
The set up of the premise was decent enough, and the cast do a good enough job despite their underwritten parts. But once the first of them, Courtney (Ellen Page) goes under, the problems start to show. The effects used when the people are ‘dead’ are very uninspiring, and neither of the two side effects – an increased mental capacity and being terrorised by something linked to a guilty secret – are explored in-depth enough to make them interesting. There is one major surprise about two-thirds of the way through, but otherwise it is flashy and empty stuff.
Of the cast, Page brings a good energy to her part. Of her co-workers, Diego Luna is by far the most sympathetic and believable and Nina Dobrev is stunning. Kiefer Sutherland, one of the stars of the original, has a small part but the role is entirely superfluous.
Rating: 5 out of 10