‘Flatliners’ review: Meant to be forgotten
The most infuriating thing about Niels Arden Oplev’s Flatliners isn’t the fact that the film is as dim-witted as a zombie.
The film is just so glaringly lazy, resulting in an utter wastage of a very easy chance to improve upon Joel Schumacher’s 1990 original by simply borrowing its preposterous but intriguing premise and taking it elsewhere other than the psychological horror that ultimately bogged it down to near-obscurity.
Medical student Courtney (Ellen Page), still haunted by the car accident that caused her little sister’s death, has been obsessed with near-death experiences. One night, she recruits resident playboy Jamie (James Norton) and perpetually stressed-out Sophia (Kiersey Clemons) to assist her in her unconventional experiment. Basically, she asks her friends to kill her, wait for a few minutes, and revive her using all their medical knowledge.
When things didn’t turn out as expected, Sophia calls up working-class Ray (Diego Luna) to help them bring Courtney back to life. Overworked Marlo (Nina Dobrev) tags along and witnesses the entire operation. They all successfully revive Courtney who starts to show signs of being sharper the following day. So everybody, except ethical Ray, wants in on the risky procedure, not knowing of the horrifying side-effects of artificially escaping death.
It is Schumacher’s film all over again, except that the characters have different motivations. In a way, the movie, scripted by Ben Ripley of Source Code (2011) fame, seems to compare it to Courtney’s experimentations with drugs – both offer risks that are countered by quick effects that alter mental capacity and emotions. The film only becomes slightly interesting when seen from that angle, because everything else is drab and repetitive.
Lousy horror, simplistic psychology
Oplev’s film is sleeker than the original yet despite the obvious in sheen and gloss, the film manages to be consistently dull.
The film suffers from being beholden to a pattern.
Essentially, the film lines up its characters to show their individual after-life sequences, before detailing each of their every traumatic experiences, which are presented as the conventional shock and scare that populate the most generic of horror movies of today. It gets so frustratingly redundant that by the time the film proceeds to the third character, it isn’t unlikely that your interest in the film would have dissipated into thin air.
Flatliners doesn’t even try to deviate from the formula that betrayed its predecessor. Except for the carpe diem-ish attitude that its characters start to exemplify after their brushes with death, The film doesn’t really attempt to have its characters imbibe this generation’s quirks, which could have resulted in an added insights to accompany the film’s vapid scares.
Flatliners is such a bore, that a two-hour nap will prove to be more exciting. – Rappler.com
Francis Joseph Cruz litigates for a living and writes about cinema for fun. The first Filipino movie he saw in the theaters was Carlo J. Caparas' 'Tirad Pass.' Since then, he’s been on a mission to find better memories with Philippine cinema.
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