Overcome with the guilt of crashing her car and killing her younger sister nine years ago, a young med student, (played by Ellen Page), creates an experiment with the intent of proving or disproving the afterlife. Teaming up with four other med students, they conduct their experiments, successfully, in the basement of their medical school. Each time one of the group returns from an experiment, each respective med student experiences a horrifying event in the form of a ghost of a person that particular med student has wronged someway in the past. This culminates in the torment of each med student, and ultimately the death of Ellen Page’s character. That’s right – they kill off the main character.
You might be asking, “How can she be the main character; isn’t the movie about five people?”, and you wouldn’t be wrong. However, the movie opens with the car crash that kills Ellen’s little sister, Ellen is the one who creates the experiment, she is the one who brings everyone together in the movie, and only Ellen is on the poster for the film. So, yeah, I think it’s safe to say she’s the main character. The filmmakers come up with the brilliant idea to kill off her character about an hour into the movie that is an hour and fifty minutes long, so the final half of the film focuses on the remaining four med students, giving no resolution to Ellen’s story at all. Actually, she is the only med student who dies of the five in the group, and her death serves no purpose aside from a 10-second glimpse we get of her during the “climax” of the movie. It would be different if the remaining med students were actors I knew or cared about, but aside from a cameo appearance by Kiefer Sutherland, I have no idea who the other actors are. You don’t kill off the main character an hour into the story and leave it to side characters to carry the rest of the film. Come on, whose idea was this?
As a fan of the original film, I stifled my initial criticism and decided to give this movie a fair chance. In the beginning, it seems like they’re going to give a nice tribute to the original while creating a more modern film, and I was impressed by some of the jump-scares. It starts off creepy and steadily becomes more suspenseful, but something about it just didn’t have the same, dark undertone as the original. While I did enjoy some of the more spooky scenes, a lot of the intended scares come off as corny and cheap. I remember the majority of the original film taking place at night, while this one is more of a daytime thriller. We don’t need to see inconsequential moments of the characters lives if you’re not intending to make this a drama, and I have to say, this falls more in line with a drama than a thriller or horror movie. Even the scene in which Ellen’s character dies is one of the cheesiest scenes in the film, and she was the main draw for people to watch the movie.
In the end, this turned out to be just another mediocre thriller among a sea of mediocre thrillers that doesn’t deserve a second watch. The remaining living med students all make peace with the people they’ve wronged in the past and live happily ever after. This was advertised as a thriller while pretending to be a nod to a classic, but in the end it was just a money grab. When you remake a classic, make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons, otherwise it comes through in the film. If you’re in the mood to watch a movie called “Flatliners”, I recommend you watch the one with Julia Roberts, Oliver Platt, Kevin Bacon, Kiefer Sutherland, and William Baldwin – don’t watch the one starring a bunch of people no one will remember.
This movie is…
Don’t waste your time; watch the original.
Cheers and goodnight.