Review: Cheap Thrills Disappoint in Flatliners

October 19, 2017

Culture, Opinion, Reviews


Flatliners in theaters now.

By Faustina Crum

 The remake of the original 1990s film, Flatliners, recently hit theaters. Actors Ellen Page, Nina Dobrev, Diego Luna, James Norton, and Kiersey Clemons configure a group of curious medical students that push the boundaries as they experiment with life and death.

Although I’m not a superfan of director Niels Arden Oplev’s work, his past work has impressed me; this is why I expected more. At first glance I was intrigued. Even though it started off a bit cliche, I was excited to see how the characters would play out. As the movie progressed, I eagerly awaited to see something that would catch my eye. To my disappointment, I found nothing.

The films premise is interesting, but played out poorly. The concept slowly faded throughout the movie as the scenes became filled with jumpscares. The film was so focused on making us jump out of our seats that the initial idea became the sidekick. The idea of medical students finding out the mysteries of afterlife is extremely intriguing, but the movie made a well formatted idea into a generic jumpscare thriller. This completely shattered my expectations of the film.

Leaving the theater, nothing stuck out to me. The actors that star in this film are talented, but this screenplay, sadly, did not showcase their skill. The script was written as if the screenwriter was on a deadline and procrastinated until the last minute. It became choppy and hard to read. One specific scene where a character is stabbed in the hand was almost immediately cut to a scene of the students having a conversation at a bar. At this point the scene was hard to follow, making me wonder if this event was a hallucination or real life. Later, we are able to see that he actually was stabbed, but we are never told what he did or how he got out of the situation.

It feels like the film hates commitment. Whether the characters were being haunted by a ghost, demon, or their own mentality was unclear and I was left with many questions. This sort of editing and production style is definitely risky and didn’t help the screenplay whatsoever.

The character development showcased little information, making each character bland. Their backstories were weak and I found no attachment towards any of them. One character was killed off half way through the film,and I was so disconnected with the character that I had forgotten about them until she was brought back up. “Plot twists” became predictable and tamed my excitement.

Coming to the theater, I was expecting a film focusing on the interesting topic of afterlife and how Oplev would play out his view on screen; instead I was greeted with speeded production, poor transition scenes, and an unneeded “scarefest.” It was apparent that communication behind the scenes was limited.

Although the majority of the film was bland, the cinematography was aesthetically pleasing and CGI was done well.  Reviews would have been much better if there was more communication, thought process, and if creative value was incorporated. Although it was not one of the best films I have seen, I would definitely not say it was the worst of 2017 cinema.

Flatliners is currently premiering in theaters such as UA Cottonwood Stadium 16, Premiere Cinema 14 Rio Rancho, and Cinemark 14 Downtown. The film is PG-13 and requires parental supervision if under the age of 13.

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