FLATLINERS (2017) Reviews and overview

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‘You haven’t lived until you’ve died’

Flatliners is a 2017 American science fiction horror film directed by Niels Arden Oplev (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) from a screenplay written by Ben Ripley (The Watch; Species: The Awakening; Species III). The movie stars Ellen Page, Diego Luna and Nina Dobrev. Kiefer Sutherland has a cameo role.

The film is a ‘re-imagining’ of the 1990 film of the same name and Screen Gems is releasing it on September 29, 2017.

Currently, the 2017 Flatliners has failed to achieve any positive reviews and is flatlining at zero percent on website Rotten Tomatoes.

Medical students experiment on “near death” experiences that involve past tragedies until the dark consequences begin to jeopardize their lives…


“Forcing each character to endure pretty much the same kind of haunted-by-guilt episode individually burns up plenty of screen time without compounding the pic’s scares. It also allows the viewer’s increasingly idle mind to wonder why, nearly three decades later, the plot’s semi-intriguing premise couldn’t be put to less daffy use.” The Hollywood Reporter

What’s crazy is how little regard anyone here has for realism, with the students literally being brought back from dying, and immediately jumping in the sack with each other, going to raves (?), and worst of all, engaging in high speed car chases – for kicks. The ugly DV photography makes it look like amateur hour despite the high-ish (for this kind of movie) $20 million plus budget…” Arrow in the Head

“The ensemble cast is game for anything, and sells every scene to the best of their ability (which is to say, some better than others), but they’re let down by a film that — like the original — cuts away the best parts of itself in order to satisfy an artificial need to be scary, instead of smart. Flatliners had every opportunity to improve on the original, and it doesn’t take most of them.” IGN

“Each of the students is visited by some manifestation of a guilty conscience over past crimes and misdemeanours, allowing Oplev to trot out every tired old scary movie tactic from sudden jolts of noise to hands slapping at windows, inanimate objects developing a life of their own and creeping figures suddenly appearing behind someone’s shoulder. No matter what Oplev throws at us, the film refuses to catch fire and just grows sillier and more contrived as it unfolds.” Screen Daily

“Once upon a time, Hollywood used to cook their crap with at least a modicum of care; now, its hit-and-run horror movies are just kind of insulting. The movie builds to the realization that asking people for forgiveness is a lot easier than forgiving yourself, but it’s hard to imagine anyone offering audiences an apology for this debacle. It’s even harder to imagine those audiences accepting one.” IndieWire

“Original director Joel Schumacher at least gave the material a pulpy kick; his successor is Niels Arden Oplev (the Swedish-language Girl with the Dragon Tattoo), whose work, occasional CGI flourishes notwithstanding, can best be described as dutiful. Mostly, it’s hackneyed horror devices uneasily mixed with softball dramatics of atonement, to increasingly plodding effect. Somebody get a defibrillator in here, stat.” Time Out

“You’ve seen it all before, but this time it’s worse, because with no emotional investment in these barely-there characters, audiences will have all the emotional investment of choosing a stick of gum. To their credit, the cast tries to bring some life to this soulless drudgery masquerading as horror. They scream their hearts out, and smile brightly so we might appreciate their pretty faces. But a script with all the depth of a baby pool cannot be saved. And so Flatliners is a grave disappointment.” Nerdist

“Fully 20 percent of the movie’s running time consists of characters wandering along through dark apartments, basements and corridors, wondering if the noises they hear are just their imaginations while out-of-focus shapes and faces dart through the negative space nearby […] The whole thing is too much of a tease, and once you figure that out, there’s no actual suspense to speak of, just momentary manipulations.” RogerEbert.com

” …early tension and perfunctory respect of real medical science inevitably yields to silliness. Flatlining, it seems, is like a drug; side effects may include vivid hallucinations, wild hedonism, an increased sex drive, the ability to play Clair De Lune on the piano, a desire to rip walls down for some reason — and some deeply ordinary horror tropes.” Empire

“Mr. Schumacher’s movie is more a failed tone poem than a horror picture, and to its credit, this new version, with a trickier script by Ben Ripley and hyper-competent direction from the Swedish filmmaker Niels Arden Oplev improves on it — by making it behave like a horror movie every now and then […] This Flatliners is, in fact, a new definition of “meh.” The New York Times

“As dull as it gets, Flatliners never sinks all the way into outright fiasco, and there’s enough talent both behind and in front of the camera to keep things on the right side of basic competence. The actors do what they can with the material, and Oplev happens upon a few decent visual ideas. What’s missing, however, is any indication why anyone involved wanted to revisit this material.” Variety

Flatliners is a mediocre remake that utterly fails to update the original in any meaningful way. There is no reason for it to exist. But its failure is compounded by the fact that there was every chance of it being superior, with the right take. Instead, it’s not scary, it’s not thought-provoking and it’s simply not worth your time.” Den of Geek!

“Having set up a daring, provocative premise — in which a bunch of cocky, self-entitled medical students think they can cheat death without any lasting consequences — the filmmakers reveal themselves to be surprisingly gutless. Rather than following through, like their characters, they take refuge in pop psychology, delivering a shallow, unsatisfying message about taking responsibility for one’s past mistakes.” News.com.au

Cast and characters:

  • Ellen Page as Courtney
  • Diego Luna as Ray
  • Nina Dobrev as Marlo
  • James Norton as Jamie
  • Kiersey Clemons as Sophia
  • Kiefer Sutherland as Doctor Nelson Wright (Mirrors; The VanishingThe Lost Boys)
  • Charlotte McKinney

Production companies:

  • Village Roadshow Pictures
  • Further Films
  • Laurence Mark Productions

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