“Flatliners” is a movie lacking a pulse


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“Flatliners” released on Friday.

In 1990, the original “Flatliners” premiered: a story about five medical school students who became obsessed with stopping their heartbeats to experience the afterlife. Almost 30 years later, Sony Pictures released a film under the same name on Friday.

The new “Flatliners” is no different from its predecessor in terms of plot. The movie follows a group of friends after they each stop their heartbeats (hence the film title), and then get revived by their colleagues. In the beginning, the characters describe their crossing as a euphoric and eye-opening experience, but they eventually start witnessing living nightmares.

Recognizable actors such as Ellen Page, most well-known for her role in “Inception” (2010), and Diego Luna from the recent “Rogue One” (2016), star in the movie. However, despite the popular stars and great plot idea, the movie simply… flatlined.

There was nothing separating this film from another generic Sci-Fi horror in which a group of explorers or pioneers go too far and experience the consequences of their actions shortly afterwards. In this case, it’s tampering with life-and-death (something that the characters simply do not understand), though with “It” a theater over, the jump-scares were easily laughable – something shown by the opening night’s small crowd.

This would be tolerable if the exposition and character development were strong enough, but juggling five different lives at once proved to be too much for director Niels Oplev. Often there are scenes which meet abrupt and anticlimactic endings, allowing the protagonists to leave relatively unscathed. Combined with sudden facts and plot-points hurled at the audience with no previous explanation, the viewer is often left confused and even discontent at what they’ve just watched.

“Some lines shouldn’t be crossed,” the tagline for the original film states. Perhaps the boundary it’s suggesting is the creation of this sequel because, for a movie called “Flatliners,” it was definitely missing a pulse.