Blast from the past

Flatliners is really an underrated masterpiece of a movie


Flatliners is getting a sequel and the first trailer for the movie if officially out. That’s right. The Joel Schumacher 1990 horror is officially getting a sequel (27 years later) and it’s scheduled to be released in September. Yay 🙂

With entirely new cast (and with a cameo appearance from he one and only Kiefer Sutherland), Flatliners 2 is now directed by the Danish director Niels Arden Oplev. Diego Luna, Ellen Page, Nina Dobrev, James Norton, Kiersey Clemons are part of the upcoming movie, but let’s take a moment and reflect on the 1990 film, shall we?

I’m not going to start this post with the premise, or the actors or the reception of the film. Sure, the film received  mix reviews and was a moderate success at the box office 27 years ago… but hey that’s all swell. No, let me preface the story by addressing the man behind the camera first. Joel Schumacher. Not only he put together a movie that felt both scary and compelling at the same time, he showed us his trait for which was renowned back in the late 80’s and early 90’s. Scouting young acting talent. Schumacher had a knack for spotting talented young actors and this move was no exception.

The film roster contains one of the most talented actors of that generation. A group of actors that were picked by the director himself and who didn’t disappoint in any part of the movie. Julia Roberts, Kiefer Sutherland, Oliver Platt, Kevin Bacon and William Baldwin are to become the greatest actors in Hollywood since Flatliners, and Kiefer and Julia will collaborate with Schumacher over and over again in the future.

The premise of Flatliners is pretty basic to be honest, but the characters are the main benefactors of the movie. You see, four of the five medical students will experience death (after being hit with electricity from a defibrillator paddles) and come back to life by using the the same device. But along with their bodies, they’ll be resurrected back to life with with their greatest fears and phobias realized, making the whole sub-plot much more interesting. Not to mention scary and visually haunting.

Keifer Sutherland offers a marvelous performance as (Nelson Wright), the male lead. A scientist who believes he can find the answers to life and death by killing himself and then coming back to life. Julia is fantastic as the introverted Rachel, who’s still haunted by her father’s suicide. Kevin Bacon and William Baldwin are stellar also, but Oliver Plat is absolutely outstanding as Randy Steckle, the voice of reason for the med students.

The cinematographer of Flatliners Jan de Bont, on the other hand created in Flatliners a dreamy atmosphere that is still impressive, as it it visually scary. Like a Gothic horror movie of some sort, Flatliners is dark, gloomy and bit depressing. The blue color schemes all over the walls deliver wonderful lighting, and that fits the film perfectly, especially in the flashback scenes and the ones with hallucinatory visions. There you will find and Joel Schumacher craftsmanship and De Bont’s visual niche for storytelling submersed in a wonderful collaboration between a DP and a director.

Now the concept of ‘playing God’ has been a staple of science-fiction and the sci-fi horror genre for ages, but over here the more important concept themes are the sins of the past, and the buried guilt and trauma from childhood. The fears, the guilt and the horrors of living with that guilt, is now resurfacing from the character’s sub conscience, and scaring the crap out of us. And while it portrayed unrealistic use of medical equipment, one can forgive that rather big mistake cause it’s for dramatic purposes.

I can’t hardly wait for the sequel to be honest. Not only is directed by one of the most talented European directors, it stars one of my favorite actors working today. Ellen Page and Diego Luna. Oh and Kiefer is making his way back to the small screen in the same role, 27 years later. Older and I hope wiser.

“Flatliners” is an original, intelligent thriller, well-directed by Joel Schumacher. I only wish it had been restructured so we didn’t need to go through the same crisis so many times. said Roger Ebert in his review back in 1990.

I hope more better things can be said about the sequel come September.


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