Flatliners (2017)

There’s something to be said for updates, especially around this time of year; new year, new you, and all that. In art, this can be especially prevalent, as it allows a wider audience to experience what they couldn’t have before. In 2017, on the wave of cinematic remakes and reboot that have come before. The stylish sophisticated ethical thriller got a second chance to be re-told, in the modern remake of Flatliners.

The budget has increased somewhat for flashier machines, it has been 27 years though.

Much like its source, Flatliners focuses on a group of young medical student’s gradual involvement with an underground procedure to stop their hearts and experience what happens after ‘death’. This procedure not only works but elicits a euphoric high, that improves the participant’s life balance. As tensions between them heat, and deadly visions haunt them. They must ask if it’s really worth it, and how they can make amends to stop it?

Those who can’t do, teach. Those who did and learned that they shouldn’t have done… also teach!

Flatliners being a reboot/remake follows a lot of what the original does competently but takes flourishes with the original. The students feel more like they have something to prove. this could be due to the film relying on less established faces. You do have the likes of Ellen Page takes the reins as the Kiefer’s Nelson-Wright-leader-type… While Kiefer Sutherland makes a nice cameo as the student’s head lecturer. The cast of relative newcomers also have some interesting avenues for their new characters to explore. For instance, Kiersey Clemons, Sophia’s relationship with her mother, replaces such issues as Julia Roberts character’s relationship with her Vietnam veteran father, in the original and the sabotage of a fellow student, to become valedictorian. They feel like more modern issues for students today to deal with.

Niels Arden Oplev carries on the tradition of making the dream sequences look vibrant and ethereal.

While it might seem that this remake plays it relatively safe in terms of following the plot beats of the 1990s classic, it does make a great effort to update the crafted story for a more new audience. The ‘visions’ that the medical crew face are a lot more menacing and deadly than in the 90s variations, with one sequence that would feel at home in a film like Slender man. Some are more kaleidoscopic and dreamlike, this could be attributed to the direction of film-maker Niels Arden Oplev, regardless of who is responsible, it’s impressive to behold.

While visually striking, A lot of this is metaphorical, none of the students went to school in Chernobyl or anything.

While taking any opportunity it can to engage in some visual updates, and slight narrative tweaks to resonate further with a fresher audience. Flatliners still manages to be an engaging film that’s great to look at, as well as ponder. A chance for more audiences to experience, who might be put off by the age of the original. Flatliners shows that the concept of the dangers of life after death still has a pulse.

…And that student competition never goes out of style!

If you want more positive reviews delivered to the e-mail box of your choice, you can click on that little text bubble at the bottom of the screen. Do you agree or disagree? or have a suggestion for another pop-culture artefact that needs a positive light shone on it? Leave a comment in the comment box below! But remember to keep it positive!

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