In the midst of Hollywood's current obsession with churning out remakes, reboots and sequels by the minute, the latest sequel/prequel/reboot that no one asked for but that we're still getting anyway to fall off the conveyor belt is Flatliners. Here's my take on it.

Sadly, this film lives up to its title. It's dead upon arrival. The 1990 original wasn't great in itself and director Niels Arden Oplev's remake had so much potential to take its unique and interesting concept and do it some justice. But no. If anything, this 2017 iteration is far worse. It's probably one of the worst films of the year - and that's saying a lot when your competition includes The Emoji Movie and Fifty Shades Darker. It's just very difficult to really find any redeeming quality buried within the depths of this piping hot mess.

We follow five medical students that toy around with the concept of stopping their heart for a few minutes, encountering death and the after-life firsthand and then being revived and brought back to reality - in the hopes to gain more insight about life itself. However, when this starts to get to their heads and the students find themselves going under more and more, and for longer each time, they quickly find themselves haunted by the entities of the after-life, and their past, that they so disrespected with their experimental project.

The potential is certainly there, there's no doubt about that. Even though this film is truly horrible and dull, you can't help but see the minuscule shades of what could have been - and there is serious emphasis on the word minuscule there. The idea behind the story of Flatliners alone is one so deftly different and intriguing from what we're used to; as for fulfilling that horror fix, the possibilities of creating something genuinely quite unnerving and memorable are there. But it's all thrown out the window for a messy, bland, jump-scare fest that fails to impress and fails to innovate. For starters, it follows the original beat-for-beat and brings nothing new to the table at all; the writing is just so mawkish and lazy and bad. It feels like this film was made merely for the sake of being made - to continue with this trend of unnecessarily remaking 80s/90s films just to be in with the 'fad'.

The characterisation is non-existent and everyone feels so one-dimensional and frustratingly bland; again, this comes down to such lazy writing failing to give anyone any real depth, not to mention any good dialogue either - all of which is horrendously cheesy and contrived. The performances are equally so. When a film has promising talents the likes of Ellen Page, Diego Luna, Kiersey Clemons, and Kiefer Sutherland all phoning it in and giving such one-note performances, then you know that your film is doomed. The direction itself is all over the place, with such choppy and irritating editing and over-polished visuals to try and seem edgier and more high-brow than it actually is. As far as the horror element of Flatliners is concerned, the film tries to maintain 'ambiguity' surrounding its supernatural entities and involvement but rather than coming across as 'edgy' and 'mysterious', it feels lazy and confusing; things just seem to happen without much explanation and all for the sake of filling out a run-time quota and creating 'suspense' and 'scares' - none of which ever land; the jump-scares are all predictable and bland and executed so poorly and, most importantly, NOT AT ALL SCARY IN THE SLIGHTEST.

There is nothing redeeming about Flatliners. I could go on with its many flaws. It's boring and lazy and frustrating.The writing is bad; the acting is bad; the premise - and its execution - is tedious and dull. This film should not exist. In fact, it should not be this bad. Given that the original was not too great and had many opportunities to improve, this remake failed miserably. The title feels fitting because this film flatlines. It's as dead and atrocious as they come.

VERDICT:
Flatliners is dead upon arrival; it's atrociously lazy and dull and a bitter failure.

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About the Author

Awais Irfan
Founder of Oasis Awais, and avid lover of life, Awais Irfan's love of writing and film is unequivocal. Ever since he was a little kid, he has loved the cinematic experience; so much so, he is studying Film Production in Glasgow and hopes to be the next "big thing" in directing.

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