Movie Review: Flatliners (2017)

Movie Review: Flatliners (2017)
I used my MoviePass and saw the new Flatliners last night, and I was very curious to see it. I'm a fan of both Ellen Page and Nina Dobrev (TV's Vampire Diaries), and the remake (or "reimagining," as they are calling it) seemed to delve more into horror than science. The fact that it had (and still has) 0% on Rotten Tomatoes didn't dissuade me, either, and overall I enjoyed the movie, though it definitely "jumps the shark" at one point.

Courtney (Page) is a medical student who, one night, invites a few fellow students to help her with an "experiment" in the hospital building basement. The experiment is stopping her heart for a few minutes, so she can see if there's indeed an afterlife, and/or brain activity after death. Jamie (James Norton) is intrigued by this idea, but fellow student Sophia (Kiersey Clemons) is appalled by it; eventually, though, she must jump in to help bring Courtney back.

Eventually, Ray (Diego Luna) and Marlo (Dobrev) find out about the experiments in the basement, and Marlo wants in on it: she wants to experience the afterlife as well, and Jamie and Sophia end up doing the same. Soon, however, they realize that something has followed them "back" from their experience, and it's make them have hallucinations and extreme guilt over their past indiscretions.

To cut to the chase: I didn't think this movie was quite as bad as its 0% RT rating (I've seen much worse movies). It actually held my attention for about 2/3 of the film, and the first half of the film was very good. It's when the movie turns into a horror movie, though, complete with "jump scares," that I started to dislike it—I've never been a horror movie fan, and I HATE films that make you jump in your seat. I definitely jumped/flinched quite a few times during this movie, too.

I've watched the original Flatliners before, also, though it was a while ago, and I remember it being good. Kiefer Sutherland is back in this film, but not as his original movie role; instead, he's a senior doctor at the hospital where the med students work. (my thoughts on that: why even bother, then? It just makes things confusing.)

I haven't seen Ellen Page in a movie in a while, too—though she's had a few roles in 2016, the last one I saw her in was Freeheld, a great movie, in 2015—and I'm surprised with her starpower that she agreed to be in this film. I was a fan of Dobrev in Vampire Diaries, as well, and both she and Page carry this movie; Luna is good in it, too, but has limited screen time, since he's the only one of the five to not delve into the afterlife.

Maybe see this movie. I'll admit that it was entertaining, at least until it "jumped the shark," but it's definitely not one you will think about the next day. The concept of the afterlife is an intriguing one, and it could have been done much better here, but instead they resort to cheap scares, rather than exploring each character's guilt over past sins. A few storylines are tied up in a bow a little TOO neatly, too—Jamie's storyline, for example—which was a bit convenient. I wouldn't pay full price for this one, but if you're curious about it, it's worth seeing at a matinee or on Blu-ray/DVD.

Flatliners is currently playing in theaters, and is rated PG-13 with a runtime of 110 minutes. 2.5 stars out of 5.

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