This Fiendish Flicks Friday we’re heading back to 1990 to take a look at the fantastic film Flatliners by Joel Schumacher. Starring Kiefer Sutherland, Julia Roberts, Kevin Bacon, Oliver Platt and a baby faced Billy Baldwin, Flatliners delves into the ever existential question, what happens after we die?
In a day when it seems like there’s nothing left but remakes of remakes, and the same old hashed out tropes, Flatliners remains a refreshingly original film. 5 medical students take life and death into their own hands, to find answers. If you expect to be met by a benevolent God or a menacing Devil, you’d be out of luck. No white light, no flamey abyss. Nothing but that Hell which lives in the minds of men, shame and regret.
Kiefer Sutherland leads the group in the exploration of death, by volunteering to die in a controlled experiment, then be brought back by his colleagues. What seems like a dream, quickly becomes a nightmare, when he realizes that something came back with him. It would be too simple to warn the others. Misery loves company, right? Each take their turn on the other side. Each learn that some things shouldn’t be messed with, some things aren’t meant to be known.
There are some definite formulaic tidbits in the flick, Sutherland as the overly confident control freak, Platt as the opportunistic coward, Baldwin playing the lothario, Bacon as the maverick and of course Julia Roberts as the innocent and pure hearted voice of reason, looking nobly for the meaning of life. Yes, the classic characters are all there, but they are played so well, that I was still intrigued and endeared to them. That’s what makes for a good suspenseful flick, not just the sense of peril, but caring about the characters facing it,otherwise the film falls flat. Joined with engaging dialogue and eerie, dreamlike imagery, Flatliners does not.
So my Fiendish Fans, is today a good day to die? I think I’ll leave that to the fearless. Besides, there are far too many Fiendish Flicks left for this girl to find. Till next week, fright fiends! -Rubyby