Death, the inevitable destination that we are constantly reminded of in the various forms of media. We spend all our time trying to postpone it that sometimes we miss out on life itself. This weekend’s remake though focuses on hastening to that endpoint all in the name of science. I’m talking about Flatliners, a movie that many may be “deathly” afraid to see for one reason or another, however this reviewer is back in the theater to bring you some information on the latest silver screen picture. Let’s go!
Pretty Cast: You get this from the trailers, but Flatliners is another example of pretty faces taking full front in a movie. Like MTV meets a horror film, this cast will make young and old hearts beat as the characters dress in either preppy fashion or tight clothing to get the blood pumping. Made up faces sparkle in the light, despite the ever-pressing doom hanging over them, and even in their worst they still look incredible. Very important qualities in a movie.
Morals Wrapped in Horror: A better reward of this movie is the impressive delivery of some important lessons, one of which was rather personal to me. The first is not to play with the defibrillator to study death, a lesson we all thought we knew, but guess we could use a refresher. Second is to take responsibility for your actions, and make up for them in an honorable manner. Third is all about forgiveness, something that everyone can use a reminder of in terms of accepting apologies of those that are sincere. While a bit theatrical at times, Flatliners delivers its lessons solidly, integrating it into the plot and making it fit well into the story. This gooey, moral driven center is the sweet reward of the movie and perhaps my favorite component of the movie.
Decent Characters: Horror movies often have idiots for characters, or so blatantly shallow you can’t help but root for them to meet their end. Not the case in this film. Flatliner’s crew, despite the stupid desire to meet death, actually feel like relatable characters. Their friendship, their flaws, and their fears were relevant to me, and were well-acted by our beautiful cast. As such, these characters are little easier to latch onto and invest your time into, following them through the nightmare they unleashed. For me, it was Diego Luna I grasped on to the most, his character being a keystone into connecting the elements of the plot.
Short Run Time: Always nice when a horror movie doesn’t drag out too long, lost in the unnecessary details that often aren’t needed. Flatliners did a decent job trimming the fat, keeping things concise (if a bit rushed) and essential to explaining our character’s backstory, while still keeping the plot moving.
Not Scary: Perhaps it’s me seeing so many movies, but Flatliners again failed to shock me. Outside of the looks they wear when they stop their own hearts (as well as the questionable medical techniques), the movie doesn’t remotely focus on scares of any sort. There are few vivid images that start down the path, but these fizzle out and become lost in a rather vague concept. Throw in the rather lax attacks of the entity and well… there isn’t much more to build on to explain the calm pace this movie takes.
Vague Creature: The trailers portray something being unleashed, but Flatliners does a poor job explaining what it is. A spirit? A demon? Their minds breaking from all the stress? The answer is left for you to decipher, but don’t expect much in terms of the evil taking any form. This not only robs the movie of potential scares, but also makes the story confusing and more towards a drama than anything else. While this gets points for making you think, I still would have liked a little more imagination into my monster, or whatever it was.
Rushed Elements: While the characters are better than most horrors, they still are mere shadows to great story works. Flatliners’ dilemmas are hastened through on many levels, a rather pathetic climax with a resolution obtained more easily than the Hulk Smashing through a building. Some characters got their just desserts on development, but others got off a little easier than expected. But development would mean a longer movie, so I can’t be too upset.
Predictable: It’s hard to throw surprises in these days, but Flatliners was a little too familiar for my tastes. In addition to the scares, much of the tale was easy to see coming, and following that pathway just takes away from the originality factor. With this gone, the special feeling of this movie is further reduced to just another weekend filler.
Flatliners is another example of modern, horror movies with superficial glimmer that is merely gold paint. A pretty cast and good morals don’t offset the fact that movie is just not scary enough, nor original enough, to garnish a theater visit. The abstract monster that dwells within us all gets you thinking, but come on, we want something to make us lose sleep at night. Therefore, this mediocre remake gets the following:
Movie Overall: 5.0