A group of medical students experiment with their lives by exploring what happens after we die. After seemingly amazing experiences, their past slowly comes back to haunt them in terrifying fashion.
I don’t know if it’s just me. But one of the benefits of not seeing the original film actually makes it easier to watch a remake, or re-telling, as I like to call it. People who have seen the original, and liked it, already have their back up about why the remake is even happening. These people are all too quick in judging the film before they have even seen it. Yes okay, we are in a current world of sequels and remakes. It’s not going to change, at least for a while anyway, unless studios get brave and start taking on more “risky” screenplays. Depending on when the original was released, there is a good chance I have seen it. Somehow I’ve managed to accidently avoid the original Flatliners. But it only made watching the new one a tad more exciting, just because I had no idea what to expect.
To start it has a great cast; Ellen Page, Nina Dobrev & Diego Luna being among the main characters. It also has James Norton and Kiersey Clemons in supporting roles. Together they are medical students who end up taking it in turns in killing themselves, to see what life after death is actually like. They document this activity using very ‘high tech machinery’ that I can’t be bothered to google the actual name of. What they discover is fascinating, unbelievable, but then also slightly creepy. I mean come on; you can’t expect to cross to the other side and for it to be all sunshine’s and rainbows, right? Well actually, for a brief montage in the film, it is just that. The whole group are on an after-death high and partying like there is no tomorrow with beer, dancing and sex. But before you can say zippy zappy doo dah, shit starts to get real. Like, realer than real. (Is even realer even a word?)
As the film opened, we were presented with a scene where one brief look at a phone while driving suddenly turns fatal. You sort of knew this was going to make some relevance later on in the film. And it does. With one of the characters reliving this awful tragedy by seeing the victim of her mistake, seemingly alive and well, or is she? One by one we learn that the characters have all done something terrible, which up until now, they haven’t really regretted. These past acts, at least something portraying them, is pissed and wants revenge and starts to haunt accordingly.
I was really quite enjoying the film up until the last 30 minutes or so. It’s like the ending was not fully written and the writers were like “yeah let’s just do this” and then went to the pub. It almost feels like an entirely different movie and pretty much a cop-out of what could have been pretty great. The acting was okay throughout. The main leads were convincing and because I’m in love with Nina Dobrev, she can never do anything wrong anyway. The ‘after-life’ scenes are short but have really nice visuals. I also really liked when the characters start seeing their “sins” as the scenes are very eerie and well directed. This is definitely where the horror kicks in, and one scene did make jump. Which, I applaud, because I couldn’t even see it was coming and normally I do. I do think there should have more deaths, just to put more weight on the final part of the film. Because defeating these sins was way too easy. How many times in a horror film do 4 out of 5 people survive? It was too goody for its own good.