What You Need To Know - February 5, 2018

Flatliners: What You Need To Know
by James
by James hmv London, Bio "Like the legend of the Phoenix, I've just eaten a whole packet of chocolate HobNobs..." Editor, hmv.com

Flatliners: What You Need To Know

Readers of a certain vintage might remember Joel Schumacher's 1990 film Flatliners, in which Kiefer Sutherland, Julia Roberts and Kevin Bacon star as medical students who embark on a series of risky experiments in attempt to try and discover what really happens after we die.

Last year, Schumacher's film was given the remake / reboot treatment and this week sees the 2017 incarnation of Flatliners arrive in stores on DVD and Blu-ray. So how does it compare to the original?

Here's everything you need to know...


Who's in it?

Ellen Page and Diego Luna lead lead a cast that also includes The Vampire Diaries' Nina Dobrev, McMafia star James Norton, Extant's Kiersey Clemons and Kiefer Sutherland, who makes a cameo appearance in a cheeky nod to Schumacher's 1990 film.


And who's directing?

Niels Arden Oplev, the man behind the original, Swedish-language screen adaptation of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, is directing this time around. He works from a script penned by Source Code writer Ben Ripley, based on the original story idea by Peter Filardi.


What's the plot?

Page plays a medical student named Courtney who becomes obsessed with the idea of the afterlife and devises an experiment in order to answer the age-old question of whether there is life after death. Setting up a lab in one of the disused rooms in the hospital, Courtney plans to use defibrillator to stop her heart for 60 seconds while recording her brainwaves to try and establish what happens in the moments following death.

However, in order to use the defibrillator to shock her back to life she'll need help, so she persuades two of her fellow students, Jamie (Norton) and Sophia (Clemons), to assist by restarting her heart after she has been flatlining for 60 seconds. Sophia initially refuses, but Jamie agrees to help anyway and Sophia finds herself roped in when Jamie struggles to revive Courtney, which they eventually manage to do with help from another fellow student, Ray (Luna).

Courtney begins to experience a few side effects, but at first these are positive, such as recalling long forgotten memories, feelings of euphoria and an apparent increase in intelligence, including a surprising ability to play the piano. Jamie becomes envious of the results and decides to undergo the experiment himself. At first, he too experiences positive effects, although his near-death experience proves to be quite different from Courtney's when he sees a disturbing vision involving his ex-girlfriend. Sophie follows suit and Marlo (Dobrev), another of their fellow students, learns of the experiment and also wants to be involved.

Courtney and Jamie begin to experience disturbing visions but do not tell the others, unsure whether they are hallucinations or apparitions from the afterlife. Eventually though, the others begin to experience the visions too, their experiences becoming more vivid an intense each time until their lives become a waking nightmare, forcing them to confront the consequences of the actions when incidents from their past quite literally come back to haunt them.


Does it deliver?

Although billed as remake of Schumacher's 1990 film, there were apparently plans for the 2017 version of Flatliners to be a sequel to the original, with Kiefer Sutherland telling the Metro last year that he would essentially be the same character, albeit now older and going by the name Dr. Barry Wolfson instead of Nelson Wright.

That idea appears to have been abandoned at some stage, so what we're left with is basically a straight remake of the original. More a psychological thriller than the horror film it seems intended to be, Flatliners is nevertheless worth a watch if you haven't seen Schumacher's version and there are some good performances from the film's cast.


Flatliners Niels Arden Oplev

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