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by Niels Arden Oplev

I was initially confused about whether the recent Flatliners release was a remake or a sequel. Seems the Internet is a bit confused as well because when I look it up there’s still much debate on the topic. After watching it, I’m going to go with remake since Kiefer Sutherland’s cameo was way too small and he clearly isn’t named Nelson.

If you’re not familiar with the plot of Flatliners then allow me to introduce you to it. A group of medical students become involved in a dangerous experiment in which they stop their hearts in order to record what happens after you die. In the original, the main character of Nelson wanted to prove there was an afterlife to go down in history as the first person to discover it and become famous. In this version, Ellen Page plays the main character of Courtney, and while at first it seems her motives are the same as Nelson’s, we soon discover that she has rather selfish reasons to be meddling in near-death experiences.

The original film is filled with campiness and original content and while a remake clearly isn’t going to be original, it is corny as hell and filled with what I thought was a good bit of campiness. There are moments where the viewer is treated to striking visuals when the medical students cross over into the afterlife and each individual’s near-death experience goes from beautiful and pleasant to sinister rather quickly. While I enjoyed each of the scenarios, they were quite predictable and a some of them a little snore-inducing, however, entertaining no less.

I typically enjoy everything Ellen Page is involved in, but for some reason I just couldn’t find myself connecting with the character of Courtney. The real star of the film for me was Kiersey Clemons in the role of Sophia, a sheltered young woman whose overbearing mother pushed her to commit the ultimate mean-girl act in high school and ruin a fellow student’s life. As in the original, the sins of the students’ pasts begin to catch up with them and they must now figure out a way to deal with the supernatural before it finishes them off first.

I think the film stayed close enough to the plot of the original as to not completely ruin anything and the new content they threw into the mix didn’t force it to fall flat for me. Sure, it lost some of its steam toward the end and the happy ending felt a little forced, however, I’ve always been a fan of the original, so I knew that I’d either love or hate this one. Nothing will ever compare to Kevin Bacon’s jean jacket and rebel attitude or Julia Roberts’ enormous 80s hairstyle, but I really can say I enjoyed this film for what it was.

If you can take Flatliners at face value and not expect your mind to be blown and you can remember that the original was just as corny, then you can enjoy this movie as much as I did.

Stevie Kopas, HMS

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