I should have read up on Flatliners before I watched it at the movie theater. If I had, I would have learned—as you are now—that Flatliners, directed by Niels Arden Oplev (known for directing The Girl with Dragon Tattoo), is a classified as a drama/thriller/sci-fi film. Maybe, I could have been somewhat prepared for the twenty-minute heart attack I had in my seat.
The original (Flatliners, 1990) concept behind the script is great; a group of people experiments with ways to explore the “other side,” only to find there are consequences to exploring the unknown. Unfortunately, the trailers of the 2017 remake are a bit misleading. The thriller side of the movie isn’t obvious in the trailers, so I ended up choosing to watch Flatliners for the sci-fi/drama aspect of the film.
The idea of people purposely stopping their hearts for an experiment is a unique concept to explore. Ultimately, I loved the sci-fi aspect but was left disappointed they didn’t expand on the exploration side of it. Again, it may be my fault for not reading a true plot summary of the film ahead of time. I expected the film to focus more on the exploration of what lies on the other side. Instead, more time is spent depicting what happens once the experiment ends, which is when the thrill begins.
Don’t get excited hardcore horror movie fans. There just isn’t enough blood, guts, murder, or thrill to satisfy your eclectic souls. There’s a reason this film gets only a PG-13 rating. As easy as it is to scare me, it’s just as easy to pick out all the horror movie clichés and anticipate the fright. Most of the thrill is in the anticipation of something popping out on screen. However, there are definitely moments that make you jump—I wasn’t alone in my girly squeals.
All of the thrills are reserved for the last twenty minutes of the film—twenty minutes of unrelenting spooks popping out of shadows and behind people. I felt like I was suddenly watching one of the Final Destination movies again, trying to guess, “Who’s going to die next?”
Another reason I chose to watch Flatliners was the cast. I was excited to see Ellen Page (Courtney) and Nina Dobrev (Marlo) in the Flatliners trailer. Page fans will be glad to know her portrayal of a grieving med student comes across as natural and authentic. However, as a fan of Dobrev in The Vampire Diaries, I was highly disappointed with Dobrev’s performance. I hoped to see Dobrev surpass her TV role to embrace a new character, but her performance falls flat. I couldn’t help but see the typical disingenuous Elena Gilbert expressions and reactions from her time on The Vampire Diaries.
Flatliners is playing now in theaters if you choose to watch it. There will be some thrill to the film and some sci-fi, but not enough of either. At best, you can enjoy comparing it to the original film.