Blu-ray Review Drama

'Flatliners' Blu-ray Review: A cult classic is reborn, but keep the doctor on standby

January 17, 2018Ben MK

The burning question of what lies beyond death is something that has consumed scientists and scholars alike for centuries. But can anyone claim with absolute certainty that they have the answer?

In director Niels Arden Oplev's remake of 1990's Flatliners, a group of medical students attempt to find out just that. Sophia (Kiersey Clemons), Jamie (James Norton), Marlo (Nina Dobrev) and Ray (Diego Luna) are all residents at their campus hospital, but they're soon about to share much more in common when their classmate, Courtney (Ellen Page), recruits them to take part in her secret experiments to map the human brain's activity shortly after the moment of death.

For the past nine years, Courtney has been haunted by the guilt of having been behind the wheel when a car accident claimed the life of her younger sister, Tessa. Now Courtney is on a mission to understand if there is in fact afterlife. But while she and her friends discover that being brought back from the brink of death has its benefits — namely an awakening of their minds that makes them smarter and more physically fit — they also learn that there is a horrible cost as well, as they face sinister entities that seem to want to turn their visit to the other side into something more permanent.

For anyone who hasn't seen the original, Flatliners is decent, as Oplev and screenwriter Ben Ripley spin a good number of edge-of-your-seat thrills from the film's pseudo-scientific premise. As the movie transitions into its latter half, however, it also seems to run out of ideas. Likewise, the scares eventually begin to lose their potency. Flatliners doesn't flatline, and it isn't quite dead on arrival, but it's also fair to say that a remake of a cult classic as iconic as its predecessor deserves more than what ends up being a generic supernatural thriller.

Flatliners fans will at least be pleased to know that there's one area where this remake does justice to the original, and that's in its technical presentation. Whether it's the hospital where the characters work, apartments that scream "millennial," or darkened sub-basements that conveniently have all the necessary equipment to conduct Courtney's dangerous experiments, the 1080p image is never without its vivid colors and high-definition sheen. As for the included DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 sound mix, it does an excellent job handling the film's sound design, which is always full of activity, thanks to an energetic score and all manner of things that go bump in the night.

Sony's single-disc Blu-ray combo pack includes an UltraViolet digital copy and the following Blu-ray extras:

  • Deleted & Extended Scenes (12:08) - Nine scenes ("Lane and Courtney after Breakup," "Marlo and Sam at Fundraiser," "Jamie Speaks French," "Ray Drives Marlo Home," "Marlo Sees Her Own Corpse," "Marlo Fire in Hospital," "Ray Discovers Brad Messed Up They Fight," "Paramedics Try to Revive Marlo" and "Long Wolfson Story").
  • Reviving A Cult Classic (6:01) - A look at the cast and crew's love of the original film, reimagining it as more reality-based versus fantasy-based, and Kiefer Sutherland's role, plus a glimpse into the cinematography and the production and costume design.
  • Making The Rounds (4:41) - The cast share what it was like working with one another, as well as talk about their characters and what drew them to the movie.
  • Just What The Director Ordered (4:10) - Director Niels Arden Oplev discusses his approach to the remake, and the cast and crew talk about working with him and what he brings to the film.
  • The Ultimate Question (2:16) - The cast and filmmakers answer the question, "If you had the opportunity to flatline, would you do it?"

Flatliners is available from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment as of January 19th, 2018. The Blu-ray features English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, French and Portuguese DTS 5.1, Spanish and Thai Dolby Digital 5.1, and English and French Dolby Digital 5.1 Descriptive Audio tracks. The film is presented with English, English SDH, Cantonese, Chinese Simplified, Chinese Traditional, French, Indonesian, Korean, Malay, Portuguese, Spanish, Thai and Vietnamese subtitles. The total runtime is 1 hr. 49 min.

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