When Sony first announced it was making a new FLATLINERS, I thought it was a decent idea. The original 1990 movie is hardly a classic, and it certainly left room for improvement. The problem is that countless films have featured a similar “revive the dead” premise — I’m looking at you, The Lazarus Effect — making it hard to do anything original with the genre. While the first trailer for Flatliners 2.0 is a little bit better than the footage the studio brought to CinemaCon, it still looks pretty familiar.
There’s haunting choir music, talk of a “door” being opened, a girl being dragged by some unseen entity into darkness, and multiple ghostly hands reaching out for our protagonists. I’m not sure that’s going to cut it these days, though the cast goes a long way toward my retaining a modicum of interest in this sequel-cum-remake.
Director Niels Arden Oplev tapped Oscar-nominated actress Ellen Page to lead the ensemble, which also includes Diego Luna, Kiersey Clemons, Nina Dobrev and James Norton, the latter of whom looks a little too TV-pretty for my taste. At least Kiefer Sutherland is back to bridge the two films and reprise his role as Nelson… though it’s too bad he didn’t bring along Julia Roberts, who starred in Flatliners just four months after Pretty Woman made her a certifiable movie star.
As a result, the original Flatliners grossed a solid $61 million at the domestic box office. We’ll see if the sequel can hit the same mark, even with inflation. It opens Sept. 29 against the Tom Cruise movie American Made, and given Cruise’s recent luck at the box office, there may be hope for the new Flatliners yet. Of course, if the sequel, uh, flatlines, then the headlines will be all too easy to predict.
Jeff Sneider | Editor in Chief