By Lauren Johnson
I am not a fan of remakes. They are worse than sequels of poorly-made originals. But we all know how Hollywood works, and its ethos ‘to make films to make money’, so here we are, as avid film lovers exposed to one of many of 2017’s revivals of loved classics. Now, one of my all-time favourite cult-classics has been brought back to the silver screen: Joel Schumacher’s Flatliners (1990). It makes me feel a little indifferent, like replacing a relative with a robot version.
The plot entails five medical students endeavouring on the unknown by inducing ‘near-death’ experiences, which are subjective to each character. However, in the harrowing sense of horror, there is no action without punishment, and unfortunately, messing with mortality has severe consequences. Flatliners is based on the success of the original flick, but plagued by an overall idea of wealth, whereas the first seemed to subtly insinuate this theme. For instance, the experiments in the original were undergone in a much-left-to-be-desired run down building, while the remake sees state of the art equipment as the unlikely experiments are being funded by their university.
While the new version takes a different path from its predecessor, the plot is mostly loyal to the original and so preserves the fascinating story concept. It also has a very pleasing style and aesthetic, in line with current trends in Hollywood. But it focuses on the cast and not the narrative, and its problems mean watching this film is like listening to a music artist murdering a classic.
In Flatliners, you will endeavour on a journey that merges realism and fantasy into a narrative masterpiece, with the plausible and the irrational coming toe-to-toe with one another in a battle of thought. Although I don’t believe Flatliners is worth a cinema ticket, if you should go I recommend watching both versions to fully allow your opinion to form upon the necessity of remakes in today’s film industry.