Thursday, October 23, 2008

Flatliners

(1990) **1/2

What happens after you die? That’s what five medical students decide to find out by temporarily inducing death. Simon (Kiefer Sutherland) is the first to go and after its success the others are all too eager to be the next to flatline. Soon they learn that their actions have consequences when each becomes haunted by something from their past.

I may be wrong in assuming that all or almost everyone on the blog has seen Flatliners? I’ve watched it about a dozen times several years ago and thought it was fantastic every time. It’s been awhile and I was really curious to see if it held up for me. I still love the concept but I think it was poorly executed. I found a number of problems with this film. For instance, although acted well, the characters did nothing for me because they are too underdeveloped. I don’t think that is the films intent. Considering the plot deals with demons from the characters past, I can only assume that the viewer is expected to feel empathy and intrigue for them and their plight; but, honestly, I could have cared less if any one of them permanently flatlined. Second problem is that I wanted to be on the edge of my seat because I think the theme of this film could and should do that, but instead it all felt a bit paint by numberish. Finally, the worst of the worst is the way the camera pans the room or zooms onto a character with this low budget cheesy look that kept making me think I was watching a Lifetime movie.

Overall, I was so disappointed that my beloved Flatliners was a wash-up. I’m still in love the concept and I think there should be a remake. If done right I believe it could be great.

1 comment:

JPX said...

Oh I'm so disappointed to hear that this doesn't hold up! I too have fond memories of this film. I only saw it once during its theatrical run but I recall thinking it was fun. I suppose too many good films with a better script and fx have come out during the ensuing decades to render Flatliners kind of weak. I had the same experience with Dreamscape. It's always disappointing to find out an old movie or cherished television program doesn't hold up over time. Land of the Lost scared the hell out of me when I was a kind, for example.