Flatliners was not screen for critics last week, and when it was seen on preview screenings Thursday night the reviews were not too favorable. It currently sits at 4% on Rotten Tomatoes, but I’ll always give any movie the benefit of doubt. Heck sometimes bad reviews make me want to see some a little more. Call it a morbid curiosity, but going into the midnight screen on Friday I had more than an open mind. But now I can firmly say that the new Flatliners could described as DOA, or lifeless. (These puns practically write themselves)

The question most are asking about this new Flatliners is why did this film even need a remake? The Joel Schumacher original is a fun video store staple of the 90s, but is hardly a considered classic. Helping jump start the careers of Julia Roberts, Kiefer Sutherland, and an already established heartthrob Kevin Bacon the story of medical students experimenting with near death experiences, and what exactly happens to one when they are dead is certainly a fascinating one. Does this new one add any extra layers, or depth to the story? Not really. It’s a strictly by the numbers, and at times painfully dull retread.

The story is kept the same as the original. Five hotshot medical students lead by Courtney (a wasted Ellen Page) explores what’s beyond death while they stop each other hearts on the operating table of an abandon part of the hospital where they are doing their residency. Joining Courtney are Marlo (Nina Dobrev), Jamie (James Norton), Sophia (Kiersey Clemons), and Ray (Diego Luna). Each time they get revived the experiment makes them a smarter with a larger portion of their brain working. Flatlining however proves more than they bargain for when when the gang start having tragic flashbacks of past sins, or wrong doings they have committed at some part of their life.

Flatliners almost brings a new level of meh to the cliché of unnecessary remakes. It’s competently directed for the most part by Niels Arden Oplev who directed the Swedish Girl with Dragon Tattoo films, but it just feels at times like a cast off Dimension teen horror film from the late nineties. Leading to the the film’s massive tone problem. Is Oplev going for a drama, thriller, or horror film? A mix of genres is fine, but it just doesn’t really master any of them. Maybe it would have been wiser to go straight for the horror genre. Kiefer Sutherland also pops up in a minor role as a medical instructor, but isn’t playing the same character from the original. It may have been fun to play with the film as a rebooted sequel of the sorts using his character as a jumping off point. The outcome of Flatliners is that it will will be quickly forgotten, and be a blip on the radar for the cast. Going the way of long forgotten remakes like Poseidon, Total Recall, and Straw Dogs.

*I also saw the movie in 4DX experience at the Regal L.A Live that has added touches like vibrating seats, strobe lights, and at times sprayed water in the face. Adding an almost William Castle-esque layer of fun to an otherwise dud of a movie.

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