Review: Flatliners is an empty and pointless update of 90s psychological horror

Ellen Page as Dr Courtney Holmes in Flatliners. Photo: Sony Pictures

Ellen Page as Dr Courtney Holmes in Flatliners. Photo: Sony Pictures - Credit: Sony Pictures

In 1990, Joel Schumacher brought together young Hollywood's bright lights Kevin Bacon, William Baldwin, Oliver Platt, Julia Roberts and Kiefer Sutherland for an outlandish thriller about curious medical students. Sadly the belated sequel flatlines.

Ellen Page, James Norton, Nina Dobrev and Diego Luna in Flatliners. Photo: Sony Pictures

Ellen Page, James Norton, Nina Dobrev and Diego Luna in Flatliners. Photo: Sony Pictures - Credit: Sony Pictures

Flatliners (15)

**

For all its ropy visual effects and poorly written dialogue, Joel Schumacher's 1990 psychological horror Flatliners had a genuine charm and sense of intrigue.

The atmosphere was generated by the strong chemistry between the central characters and its themes of religion and morality, elements that director Niels Arden Oplev's supposed sequel is lacking.

The film focuses of a group of five medical students (Ellen Page, Diego Luna, Nina Dobrev, James Norton and Kiersey Simmons) who undergo a dangerous medical procedure in order to get a brief glimpse at the afterlife only for dark visions from their murky pasts to come back to haunt them.

The main problem which plagues the film is that, bar the presence of Kiefer Sutherland, it bears a closer resemblance to a remake than it does a sequel, often hitting many of the same beats as the first.

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Indeed, so similar is this to the original that those familiar with Schumacher's film will be able to predict where the film is heading before the halfway mark.

Nina Dobrev as Ray in Flatliners. Photo: Sony Pictures

Nina Dobrev as Ray in Flatliners. Photo: Sony Pictures - Credit: Sony Pictures

This would be fine were the story driven by protagonists as strongly realised as the first but, unfortunately the central characters are so thinly written that the talented cast are unable to inject any life into them.

That said, the protagonists' journeys into the afterlife are stunningly realised and the director peppers the film with enough grisly imagery to keep audiences entertained.

Though there is enough to keep horror fans engaged this is ultimately an empty and pointless update of Schumacher's film.

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