Friday, October 17, 2014
The MONTH of HORROR - Day 17: Flatliners
Pretty great line to set up a movie where all of the characters are seemingly obsessed with the idea of death, and what may, or may not come next once your brain shuts down, and your heart quits beating. I think it's fair to say we've all been curious about death at one point or another but most of us wouldn't go to the length that the med students in this flick go to gain some answers.
Joel Schumacher directs an excellent cast consisting of Kiefer Sutherland, Kevin Bacon, Julia Roberts, Oliver Platt, and William Baldwin who, as an ensemble, have terrific chemistry, and work very well together. Listening to stories told by patients about near death experiences is one thing however for these hot shot students that simply isn't enough, they must know for themselves if anything truly happens when you "cross over". And so begins a series of dangerous experiments of being clinically dead for minutes at a time, and then skillfully, and recklessly, resuscitated back to life--the ultimate game of life. It's no game though, at least that's what they convince themselves, that what they're doing is scientifically important, and not for some sort of personal gain, or triumph.
It's a rock solid concept that I immediately bought into because you know that at some point everything will go sideways. Upon being brought back after flatlining, a door into each of their psyches is opened up, revealing a past sin, or upsetting memory that begins to consume their lives, both mentally and even physically. I'd say that the most horror-like aspect revolves around an almost 'Nightmare on Elm Street'-esque sub-plot involving Kiefer Sutherland's character, and the young boy he bullied to death in childhood, who returns to relentlessly torment him. Some very creepy stuff here as everyone's sanity slowly begins to slip, and the visions become more, and more extreme which leads to some fairly disturbing outcomes.
It's not a scary, or frightening film, but I'd say that the morbid subject matter lends itself to the horror genre--not everything needs to be blood, and guts! Sometimes simple ideas can be the most terrifying of all.