2 March 2018

FLATLINERS: THE REMAKE. (2017) REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS.




FLATLINERS. (2017) DIRECTED BY NIELS ARDEN OPLEV. STORY BY PETER FILARDI. SCREENPLAY BY BEN RIPLEY. PRODUCED BY LAURENCE MARK, MICHAEL DOUGLAS AND PETER SAFRAN. EXECUTIVE PRODUCED BY MICHAEL BEDERMAN, ROBERT MITAS, DAVID BLACKMAN, BRIAN OLIVER AND HASSAN TAHER.
STARRING ELLEN PAGE, DIEGO LUNA, NINA DOBREV, JAMES NORTON, KIERSEY CLEMONS AND KIEFER SUTHERLAND.
REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

'It's a good day to die...!'

Believe it or not, I didn't like the original FLATLINERS either. I was not swayed by the sneery handsomeness of Kiefer Sutherland nor the glittering toothsomeness of Julia Roberts, even though she's one of my favourite modern-day actresses. It's all the hair and pearly-white gnashers, who could resist it?

I just thought that they all were a bunch of over-privileged oiks trying to play God, and that they deserved their varied come-uppances. It's still an iconic 'Eighties movie that a lot of people remember with fondness, however, so I wouldn't dream of disrespecting it. Too much, heh-heh-heh.

This re-make that's brought us here together today isn't too bad at all, under the circumstances. It doesn't have the kitschy 'Eighties element going for it, of course, and the great all-star cast (well, Billy Baldwin, lol!), but it has Kiefer Sutherland and, um, well, that's kind of about it, really.

I enjoyed it well enough though, strangely. Maybe because we were snowed in for the second day and I was already bored out of my brains with not being able to leave the house. The only kinds of cabin fever I enjoy are the movies of the same name. Wow, that was pretty witty of me, wasn't it? Kudos to me there. 

Anyway, the plot is about the same. Five snobby medical students, who think they're da bomb because Daddy's got enough cash to send them to the best medical school in the known Universe, try to discover for themselves what the Afterlife is like.

They'll find out quick enough, I would have thought, the first time any one of them tries to complain to a normal person about how Daddy's yacht isn't really big enough for decent parties, but whatevs, lol.

It's blank-faced know-it-all Courtney, the Ellen Page character, who gets the ball rolling. She calls a bunch of her fellow med students down to the college basement one night where there's a bunch of medical equipment so complicated and ridiculously futuristic-looking that it could've been a gift from NASA. 'Um, you guys, here's some shit we was just gonna throw out, maybe you guys could, um, use it to play God or something?'

Cool as a cucumber, Courtney demands that her fellow medics stop her heart so that she can experience the white-light, being-pulled-down-a-long-corridor tremendous-feeling-of-well-being afterlife sensation that several patients experience when they've flatlined, as it's called. The reason she needs to include other people in her plans is that she needs someone to resuscitate her after a minute or two. Brain-dead for several minutes. Will anyone notice the difference?

The unbearable know-it-all Courtney comes back from the dead even smarter than before, much to her friends' envy. This triggers a childish and irresponsible bout of 'I'm next!' from her snobby chums, who are each determined that they're not going to miss out on any of the various intellectual benefits of 'flatlining.'

As the main effect on the students seems to be that they want sex urgently and can party all night and drive extremely dangerously without legal repercussions, you'd have to wonder why the privileged little shits don't just take the designer clubbing drugs of which students have been known to partake in the past. At least when those kill you, there's no kerfuffle about what to put on the bloody death certificates. 

Only one person, Ray, who talks a bit like Mandy Patinkin as Inigo Montoya in 'Eighties fairytale THE PRINCESS BRIDE ('My name is Inigo Montoya, you killed my father, prepare to die!'), brings up the possibility of flatlining being a dangerously irresponsible and stupid practice into which not nearly enough research has been done.

And, as in the original, they each bring something back from the dead with them that would have been better left buried. Courtney starts seeing her dead younger sister everywhere, an experience that distresses her deeply and drives her nearly to madness. Well, no-one put a gun to her head and forced her to flatline, did they?

Posh boy Jamie (he's the one who lives on a yacht, the rich snob!) starts to hear babies crying all over the place. Sophia is haunted by the sight of an old classmate of hers and, the silliest one of all, Marlo is stalked by, um, a jellyfish. Well, those things can sting a bit so I suppose it's mildly perilous at least.

When will these dopes realise that doing serious shit like this unsupervised will lead to serious consequences? For one of them, it may already be too late. For another, atonement for sins past will be ridiculously easy, a simple case of squeaking 'I'm sorry' to the injured party. Will the others be as lucky? We'll see, dear readers, we shall see...

Kiefer Sutherland is quite good in this, playing the part of these daft kids' professor in their swanky medical school. If they weren't all having sex with each other, these horny students, one of them might have given some thought to fancying him, as he's aged quite well and is still a bit shaggable.

Only one thing puzzles and annoys me about this film, apart from the obvious question of why was this film made at all, lol. Why would a person who wasn't actually dead appear in a fantasy or hallucination as a zombie? It just doesn't make sense.

The actors and actresses from this remake all think that the march of technology and progress since the original film was made has helped the film's storyline. I think it's made it a bit colder, a bit more sterile, a bit more devoid of heart and soul. A bit like making love while clad head-to-foot in one of those full-body-condom thingies. A bit clinical, you might say. Lacking any real earthy appeal.

The three actresses, in particular, probably because of all the airbrushing and make-up, had such blank dead-eyed stares throughout the film, even before they were put 'under.' Their skin is just blank ivory, no natural skin tones or lines whatsoever are allowed to shine through. It gives the whole film a very artificial, computer-gamey plastic-y look which I dislike.

Why aren't women allowed to look like women anymore? Is it because men shudder at the sight of skin that looks real or slightly worn or a little bit of body hair in places where hair was always meant to be? Seriously, don't get me started. This is one of my favourite soapbox topics, lol.

FLATLINERS: THE REMAKE was still an entertaining enough watch but, as I mentioned earlier, we were all effectively under gummint curfew to be home by 4pm in expectation of the Big Blizzard, Storm Emma, which, I'm just saying, still isn't here nearly twenty-four hours later. Maybe I'm more inclined to think fondly of this remake because I watched it during the Big Snow of 2018.

It's out now on Blu-Ray from SONY PICTURES HOME ENTERTAINMENT and it comes with a ton of extra features. Might be a handy thing to have around the house for emergency viewing in case of another extended gummint-imposed lock-down. Any port in a storm, isn't that what they say...?

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.

Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, film blogger and movie reviewer. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, womens' fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra's books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B015GDE5RO

You can contact Sandra at:


http://sandrafirstruleoffilmclubharris.wordpress.com










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