This review is spoiler-free.
A remake, no, a sequel, no, a re-imagining and sequel. In the end not only is it just a flat-out remake, but it is a shockingly bad and unnecessary one.
To call this remake mediocre is a stretch. For the most part, it is downright awful. There are few positives to pick at in this withered, dilapidated carcass of a movie. They had the chance to produce something new, something imaginative. They had a great foundation, laid by the premise of the original, yet they ended up messing it up completely. The result is a film that is not scary nor is it engaging. I cannot remember the last time I checked my watch so much when watching a film. This was a struggle.
So where to start? How about with some positives?
It wasn’t very long. I’m sorry to have to say it but that was about it. I didn’t think there could be a film this year to beat Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets for ‘worst film of the year’. But I was wrong, Valerian at least tried to be imaginative.
So what about the cast?
Well, you’d think Ellen Page and Diego Luna would be able to salvage something from the car-crash of a script? Well, no actually. With Ellen Page you either get genius or you get a disaster. In this case, it was very much the latter, and while the script can take the blame for the most part, the actor also has to take some of the hit. This was a truly un-inspiring, phoned-in performance. You had no engagement or emotional response to such an unlikeable character. She looked like she didn’t care. The same can be said for Diego Luna and most of the cast. It must be said, however, Nina Dobrev at least looked like she cared. She was the only cast member to really come out of this wreck with any credit.
Even the promise of Kiefer Sutherland appearing was not enough to sustain any interest in any character in this film. If this was a sequel, and as Kiefer himself once stated that he was playing his original character, that might have been something. But this clear remake had him in a minor supporting as a completely new character. So they couldn’t even cash in on that. A big misstep.
As disappointing as the cast performances were, the majority of the blame is definitely on the other side of the camera. Niels Arden Oplev handled The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2009) perfectly. He’s worked on Mr Robot, so he’s not a bad director. But for Flatliners (2017) this can definitely be filed under ‘good foreign director makes a US stinker’.
Next up is writer Ben Ripley, with his body of work including the likes of Species III, Species: The Awakening and the Matt LeBlanc produced TV-horror The Watch. That should ring alarm bells to start with. The script is all over the place, it is unimaginative and not scary in the slightest. The film constantly flips between sci-fi and horror yet never blends the two into a cohesive story or style.
My best advice for you dear reader, save your money and go rent/buy the original. Luckily I get to watch films for free, and if I had paid to watch this movie, I would probably never want to watch another film again.
Flatliners (2017) is a hodge-podge of sci-fi and horror that fails to deliver on both parts. From phoned-in performances to a hideously dull and poorly written script, Flatliners (2017) is a film that should definitely not be brought back to life.