Flatliners | Chicago Reader

Flatliners

A group of medical students (Kiefer Sutherland, Julia Roberts, Kevin Bacon, William Baldwin, and Oliver Platt) decide to experiment with death by taking turns having their hearts and brains stopped—"flatlining"—and then getting revived. They discover, however, that guilty secrets from their past come back to haunt them after they conduct these experiments. Despite the looniness and frequent silliness of Peter Filardi's script, director Joel Schumacher manages to give the proceedings some of the hyped-up punchiness of an EC horror comic. But stylistically this is a mess. While the ersatz experimentalism of the "death" sequences has its moments, the meat-locker expressionism of the rest of the movie—all red filters and demonic jets of steam—fails to provide any sort of realistic anchor, and much of this results in lurid incoherence (1990).

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