Flatliners was not a good film when it came out in 1990. However, I was young and dumb and the thrill of sneaking into an R-Rated movie starring Lost Boys-era Kiefer Sutherland, Julia Roberts, and Kevin Bacon brought a kind of magic to the experience.
The premise, which is all I remember about the movie, was also cool: Four medical students began experimenting with shutting themselves down — or killing themselves — to see what the afterlife looked like before they resurrected themselves using defibrillators. I am sure there were loud cries of “CLEAR” before each defibrillator attempt.
It’s a cool concept, and in the right hands, there’s a lot of Lindelofian material there to explore (the original film was directed by Joel Schumacher, which is to say, the concept was not in the right hands).
The remake, however, comes from the original Swedish Girl With the Dragon Tattoo director, Niels Arden Oplev, who more recently directed the pilot for Mr. Robot. He’s a smart director, and Ellen Page wouldn’t sign on to a film unless there was a smart idea behind it (she’s picky), and screenwriter Ben Ripley (Source Code) is capable of bringing those ideas out.
There’s some Inception-like potential in the premise, and while I am not generally a fan of 90’s remakes, I am not against a film that can drastically improve upon the brooding and overly serious original.
(The movie, by the way, is also where Julia Roberts met Kiefer Sutherland, which would lead to an engagement, which would lead to Roberts breaking off the engagement because Sutherland was reportedly messing around with a stripper.)