If you are looking for a perfectly awful movie, you’ve certainly found one. Receiving a devastatingly low score of 3 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, Flatliners, a remake of a 1990 sci-fi thriller, does not fail to live up to expectations.
Flatliners follows the story of five medical students who use their cocky attitudes and sheer luck to medically document what happens when life ends by temporarily stopping their own hearts and prompting near-death experiences. As a morbid competition develops, the medical students are forced to confront the sins of their past, along with whatever they have brought back with them.
Courtney (X-Men’s Ellen Page) acts as the instigator of the dangerous experiment, alongside the slightly more competent Ray (Rogue One’s Diego Luna), competitive Marlo (Vampire Diaries’ Nina Dobrev), player Jamie (English actor James Norton) and stressed-out Sophia (Kiersey Clemons).
While the movie attempts to break away from the stereotypical character roles and give some sort of personal development, all progress comes to a grinding halt halfway through the film.
Yes, Flatliners did have a fairly exciting premise. Five (relatively) intelligent medical students work together to achieve medical fame and special “gifts” from their time in the afterlife, only to be haunted by hallucinations from their past. Where could that go wrong?
The answer: practically everywhere.
The supposedly intelligent medical students offer to temporarily die in the name of science. Even Ray, who was supposed to be the most talented and levelheaded, seems to jump aboard this dangerous death train.
The special talents that the students receive after “flatlining”, such as recalling lost memories or having incredible instincts, is only mentioned in a couple of scenes. After the cool factor is introduced, the plot completely ignores it for the second half of the movie.
The trailer led viewers to assume that Flatliners was going somewhere with what happens after death, but instead it trails off into horror-land nowhere. Empty moralizing about the weight of guilt failed to create a legitimate plotline or a semblance of a conclusion.
Through the disappointing CGI and a tacky script, the “near-death experiences” were reminiscent of the overdone simulation trope typically found in young adult novels . . . which is simply ineffective in this movie.
Viewers, please don’t expect a quality horror or science fiction film. This movie was chock-full with cringe worthy jump scares, cliché “scary” music, and half-attempted scientific explanations. While Flatliners may technically fall into either genre, the best advice is to force your expectations very low.
Despite all of this, Flatliners did have one redeemable quality: it was unintentionally hilarious. The entire audience was laughing throughout each scene that made sad attempts to be either serious or scary. While this was likely not the intention of the movie’s creators, it certainly made for an interesting viewing.
If you do feel like subjecting yourself to the perfection that is Flatliners, make sure to see it with a large group of friends. While it’s definitely not worth seeing in theatres, it will provide 108 minutes of mindless and unintentional comedy. Enjoy the laughter because that is all Flatliners will give.