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‘Flatliners’ Review: Do Not Resuscitate or Do Not Reboot?

2017 remake is Dead On Arrival compared to the 1990 original

Photo by Colombia Pictures

Photo by Colombia Pictures

Natalie Pearson, Staff Reporter

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For many moviegoers, “Flatliners” seemed like it came out of nowhere. Being an obscure movie and having a generic plot, it did little to drum up much interest for me personally. However, a few social media platforms hopped on the “Flatliners” bandwagon. For example, Spotify created a new feature where it gives you song suggestions that presumably matches your heart rhythm to promote the movie. Soon enough it got to the point where I felt saturated in “Flatliners” advertisements, which was practically inconceivable for a movie like this, rising from obscurity to stardom in the span of a few weeks.

The over usage of advertisements became a little unsettling for such an underwhelming film. Later I learned that the reason for all this (undeserved) hype was that it was a reboot of a 1990 film of the same name, which starred Kiefer Sutherland and other famous actors.

“Flatliners” highlights the story of five medical students who conduct a dangerous experiment to see what lies after death. This experiment involves stopping their heart and then reviving them and recording what they saw in the afterlife. It’s a total success, and they’re ecstatic at the idea of having done something thought impossible. Then somehow their past comes back to haunt them as a consequence for playing god.

It was an interesting concept that managed to spark some curiosity. Plus, I wanted to see how it fared to the original, which critics touted as “remarkable” and “an original, intelligent thriller.”

So I decided to give it a shot. Walking into the theater, I was not sure what I expected, but I thought it was okay. Certainly not memorable, or life-changing, but it was a fun watch at the time. It was the bare minimum of entertainment and got the job done, at the very least. But the more I thought about it, the more I disliked it. It was a mediocre movie with a lackluster plot. 

The main characters are cookie-cutter and basic. Each of them fit into a trope (the rich guy, the shy guy, the pretty girl and the smart girl) and did nothing to make me sympathize or connect with them. When my favorite character died I didn’t actually care; it felt like her death was mostly meant for the shock factor and it didn’t have any real weight behind it.

Another thing I did not like was the ghosts. After flatlining, almost all of the characters saw some sort of ghost from their past, literally. There was a reason for why they were seeing the ghosts, but the transition from the first half of the movie to the second felt so disjointed it could have been preceded by anything. It was akin to a horror show rather than a dramatic psychological thriller, filled with chase scenes and jumpscares galore.

They didn’t even so much as touch on my favorite concept; the whole reason I went to go see the movie in the first place. After the characters flatlined, they gained supernatural powers. I was excited to see how they would explain this in detail. In actuality, one minor character made an offhand comment about it and then moved on, never to speak of it again for the rest of the film.

Needless to say, I was disappointed.

To sum it up, Flatliners was a “meh” movie. It definitely wasn’t great, or even good. In general, it was a forgettable experience and a dull movie. Don’t go to the theater—Flatliners is a waste of money and a waste of time.

Natalie Pearson - Staff Reporter

Natalie became a member of The Flightline in August of 2017. She is a sophomore this year involved in band at Skutt Catholic and volunteers at HETRA outside of school. You can email her at [email protected]

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‘Flatliners’ Review: Do Not Resuscitate or Do Not Reboot?