“It’s a good day to die!” ★★★☆☆
The Flatliners remake has, excuse the pun, ‘flat lined’ at the box office, with many labelling it dull and unmemorable. However, as a neutral seeing the film without much knowledge of the original going into the screening, it stood out as a relatively strong psychological horror.
A film of two halves, Neils Arden Oplev’s psychological horror brings in elements of thought provoking drama, mixed in with sheer horror viewing. The narrative focuses on what happens when you die, which is portrayed by five medical students getting caught up in an experiment which entail stopping their hearts and attempting to bring them back from the dead.
Ellen Page stars as Dr. Courtney Holmes who is haunted by a past traumatic experience resulting in the death of her younger sister. It is her obsession with finding out what post-death experience is like that leads to her dragging her fellow classmates Jamie, Sophia, Marlo and Ray (played by James Norton, Kiersey Clemons, Nina Dobrev and Diego Luna respectively) into the fold.
Each of the students, barring one, have their turns having their heart stopped and once they are brought back, discover an increased amount of brain power. However, the film takes a dark spin as one by one, the group start to have supernatural visions and hallucinations, each relating to a sin they’ve committed in their past.
Kiefer Sutherland features in as the students’ professor in a cameo role after starring in the original Flatliners film in 1990 which is a nice touch from the casting team.
A couple of critiques I had was towards the editing. In a specific scene towards the final act, a member of the group gets stabbed in the hand but the film suddenly jumps and in the very next scene the character is sitting at a bar with the other members of the group, seemingly fine with a bandaged hand. It just felt like there was a scene missing. There were also parts of the film that felt repetitive, for example, there was a total of five resuscitation scenes, with only one of those really leaving the viewer in suspense as to whether the character would survive.
Despite the lack of real connection between the characters and the audience, the film does well to keep the viewer absorbed in certain aspects, placing sporadic flashbacks throughout to gain a better insight into the groups lives and gradually reveal why they are being haunted.
Another creative feature includes the colour scheme. As the film progresses the visions that the group have become darker and murky. When Ellen Page’s character experiences death for the first time there is a warm feel to it as she floats through the open city to a bridge with glistening particles. But by the end the groups visions feature gloomy and foggy settings which reflects the increasingly darkening tone of the film.
So, don’t believe everything you read, for a casual viewer going into the film without expectation then it’s thoroughly enjoyable with multiple frights and a deep message of regret and forgiveness.