Boring sci-fi-horror Flatliners didn’t need reviving, says critic Josh Burford


Based on the 1990 movie of the same name, Flatliners (15) sees a group of medical students conduct a dangerous experiment where they stop each other’s hearts so they can have a brief experience of the afterlife. But, the traumatic moments of their past come back to bite them in a way that’s all too real.

I haven’t seen the original so I’m going to judge this movie only on its performance as a “sci-fi-horror” movie, I’ve used quotes there because this movie was not scary at all. It started strong with the first half being really well-paced and posing some real questions about what happens after you die. But then the second half veers more into your typical supernatural terror flick, relying heavily on jump scares that I’ve seen way too many times in mainstream horror.

I really enjoyed the first half, seeing Courtney (Ellen Page), Marlo (Nina Dobrev), Jamie (James Norton) and Sophia (Kiersey Clemons) flatline and experience the afterlife was very well done. The lighting, music and sound were used well to create a beautiful realisation of life after death.

Also when they return they seem to have a greater intellect, bringing back past memories of important knowledge, musical ability, as well as old cooking recipes, and boosting their medical knowledge in present day. This was an interesting concept but never expanded on which was disappointing.

There are a few moments where the music and sound design is used to full effect resulting in some creepy moments but there wasn’t enough of the good stuff, instead the director relied on a lot of predictable scares.

Also, later on in the movie the director tries to pull a shock move, I won’t spoil it but it kind of fell flat, making me ask the question; why was all that particular stuff shown if you were just going to do this with the character? You’ll understand that cryptic piece of information if you go see this movie.

Overall, Flatliners added nothing new to the “sci-fi-horror” genre. There’s a lack of originality in today’s movies with Hollywood constantly trying to cash in on peoples nostalgia by chucking out remakes left, right and centre. A solid first half and a couple of good scares were weighed down by a boring second half which made this a “watch it once and forget about it” kind of movie.

My rating: 5/10

About the Author

Josh Burford
Trainee journalist at Highbury College with a passion for film and TV.