If there’s one thing we’ve learned from movies, it’s not to experiment with death. But that won’t stop one group of young folks from engaging in their fun new pastime of competitive dying. Flatliners, a remake of Joel Schumacher’s 1990 cult film, posits that dying for a couple of minutes gives these kids a new appreciation for the lives they have, until their deaths start to catch up with them. Never play with forces you can’t fully control.
I know that this very web site has declared a personal fatwa against slowed-down pop songs in movie trailers, but I can’t help but feel like the spots advertising the upcoming remake of Joel Schumacher’s 1990 cult object Flatliners won’t be complete until they’ve tapped a creepy children’s choir to cover the Doors’ “Break On Through (To The Other Side).” It’s perfect! The song is about permeating the boundaries between life and death, the film deals with the same topic (only with what appear to be unsettling CGI zombies in the mix), it’s bananas that some enterprising ad executive hasn’t made the connection.
Remember Flatliners, Joel Schumacher’s 1990 sci-fi/thriller about a group of medical students trying to cross over into the afterlife? They stop one another’s hearts just long enough to enter the great beyond, and then jolt them back into the land of the living before too long. Perhaps you noticed a fleeting reference to the film in last summer’s Popstar, wherein Bill Hader is relieved to learn that he has not pooped himself after a soft-goth Joanna Newsom artificially halts his heartbeat in a hobby he refers to as ‘flatlining.’ Ready or not, here comes a remake!
I know for a fact that I have seen the original Flatliners, but for the life of me, I cannot seem to remember what happened. I remember Julia Roberts and Kiefer Sutherland, and I seem to remember scenes where somebody fell out of a tree and died, but that’s about as much as I can muster. That’s not a knock on the movie so much as it is an indication of when it came out; all of those movies I stumbled upon at my local Blockbuster as a kid seem to blur together.
Despite the existence of The Lazarus Effect, Sony is still moving forward with their remake of Flatliners. As announced last fall, Ellen Page will lead the redo of the 1990 sci-fi classic, and if you assumed the lack of news about the forthcoming project implied that Page would be playing all the roles herself, Malkovich-style, you were wrong — today brings word that Page will not be alone, as Rogue One: A Star Wars Story star Diego Luna has joined her for Flatliners.
The idea of a Flatliners remake inspires mixed feelings: it is both predictable in our ongoing remake- and nostalgia-driven pop culture landscape, and...kind of confusing, since we basically already had a remake of Flatliners earlier this year with The Lazarus Effect. But that film was fairly underwhelming, so perhaps a straight remake of the ’90s classic will succeed where The Lazarus Effect failed, starting with the casting of Ellen Page.