Are you afraid to die? Kiefer Sutherland isn't. He's an ambitious, charismatic medical student who persuades classmates Julia Roberts and Kevin Bacon to take part in a reckless experiment. To see if there is life after dea... more »th, they will kill themselves: temporarily shut down ("flatline") their heartand brain functions to briefly experience clinical death. After Sutherland survives the first experiment, the others flatline for increasingly longer intervals. But their horror begins when they realize that although they've come back alive... they haven't come back alone. Flatliners is a chilling suspense thriller of obsession, fear and redemption that will take you across the line to a place where terror lives forever.« less
A classic with lots of a listers in it when they were young. A must for horror fans!
Jennifer D. (jennicat) from ST AUGUSTINE, FL Reviewed on 3/29/2014...
This movie freaked me out! Very spooky! I saw it at the theatre and did not know how to react. But I had to get it when it came out. Really liked it. No guts, my kind of movie.
Brad S. (Snibot) from DALLAS, TX Reviewed on 3/25/2010...
Excellent idea, great writing, solid performances credit to credits, well done film.
I would like to break down how well everyone did, however since everyone did such a great job it is easier just to group everything together. This is a fantastic cast and all of them have simply wonderful performances.
The idea ... medical students explore the afterlife. The idea of intentionally killing oneself is pretty screwed up in itself and sets the stage for some crazy things.
One of the things that I really like about this film is the lighting (It was done in a style similar to The Exorcist.) The film has a lot of contrast in light and dark, it is best with the lights off, so that you get the visual effects (and so you can see what is going on in the darker sections.)
This is definitely one of the genres best, I'm not sure if it hits top 10 but this movie is a keeper. I dust mine off twice a year, it is the kind of movie that knowing what happens doesn't make it any less frightening. Fantastic Thriller .... A+.
Don't Blame the Writer
The JuRK | Our Vast, Cultural Desert | 11/28/2005
(1 out of 5 stars)
"I actually got to read the original screenplay of THE FLATLINERS just after the deal was made to make the movie. I read it and was blown away. It was awesome. (I keep checking the screenplay websites to see if the original draft by Peter Filardi gets out but I haven't seen it yet).
A year later, I went to see the movie. Do the initials "WTF" mean anything to you?
About halfway through, I wondered what was going wrong. "I don't remember reading THAT." By the end, I couldn't believe what I was seeing: an incredible screenplay had been completely destroyed.
I went to the folks who'd slipped me the script and asked what in the world happened to FLATLINERS. They were as bummed out as I was.
Apparently, Joel Shumacher didn't like the spiritual aspects of the script. So he threw them out. Let me repeat that: he made a movie about the afterlife--and threw out the spiritual aspects of it. That's like making a musical and deciding that nobody would want to hear all that singing.
Then one of the stars became a Big Star going into production. Her people said, "She's a Big Star now and she can't do anything wrong." I could just imagine someone with a brain asking, "But the premise of the film is that everyone has done something wrong and it comes back to haunt them." "No. You don't understand. She's a Big Star and nobody wants to see her do anything wrong...and she won't." So they butchered the script to satisfy the Big Star.
The heroin-addicted Vietnam Vet Daddy sequence replaced an exciting subplot of a professor wrongly accused of sexual harassment who killed himself and comes back to haunt the female lead. The ending was great, tying up every strand and leaving on a high note for the survivors. GONE.
I actually read an article in Fangoria (or maybe it was Starlog) where Joel Shumacher brags--BRAGS--about their ghastly butchering of the original script by himself and the Big Star Who Can't Do Anything Wrong.
For those of you who wonder why movies are so bad: THIS is how that happens. Peter, I feel for you buddy. You wrote a five-star script."
Everything we do matters....
Lagniappe | A galaxy far, far away... | 12/04/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I never had the pleasure of seeing this film on the "big screen" which is a shame, as it is often visually stunning, but I have revisited it on video numerous times over the years, enjoying it immensely every time. It definitely is on my personal list of favorite movies, and for more than just starring Kiefer Sutherland and Kevin Bacon, two of my "actors to watch."Perhaps I appreciate this film so much because it appeals to my slightly off-kilter taste in entertainment. I like my movies a bit left of center - unpredictable and fresh. And whether or not you "believe" the story line of the film, you have to admit, it is different! Everyone has different tastes and opinions, but my impression of some of the negative reviews of this movie is that the viewers never really saw past the surface level of this film. They got caught up in technicalities, "Why would there be green lighting in a subway?" or "Why would medical students pull such a stupid stunt?" and failed to see the artistry and psychological depth of the piece. Yes, there are some medical and technical aspects that do not make logical sense, but if you are willing to suspend disbelief just a tad, this can be a very engaging film.First, a note about the artistic quality of the movie. Some have complained about the murky lighting, and the illogical nature of the sets - but for me, the use of innovating lighting techniques, the plastic and sheet draped sets, the unusual settings in old buildings and dank, dripping tunnels, the use of statuary, rain and billowing curtains - all add a poetic flavor to this film, a haunting beauty that suits the dark nature of the questions being asked about life, death and forgiveness.I will focus on just two examples; in an alley scene, a change in lighting allows for certain elements of the set to come dramatically into focus, then to fade away once lighting returns to normal. It is an innovative means of conveying a shift in the "reality" of the moment, and works beautifully. We are also allowed to see the interior of the character's apartments - contrast the warm wood, bright colors, golden lighting and cluttered comfort of Labraccio's rooms with the stark, white void of Nelson's. Both are reflective of the characters themselves. Nelson's lack of "objects" reflect our lack of knowledge about his past... and his carefully constructed mask that keeps his companions at a distance. His past, we come to learn, is one of chaos and conflict. He has determined to leave that behind in favor of an uncluttered emptiness... unfortunately, the emptiness is also reflective of his relationships with others, a realization he comes to along his personal journey of self-discovery in this film.Flatliners is not your typical horror film. Nor is a typical drama or suspense movie...it is rather more of an amalgamation of all, having the best elements of all genres intertwined in a complex, suspenseful plot. This is an ensemble piece, and the cast does an excellent job of breathing life into their individual characters. Your immediate impression is that the characters are each representative of a well-established "stereotype": The female ice queen, the slightly neurotic `physician", the playboy and the socially conscious "nice guy" etc. However, as the film progresses and the characters are further fleshed out, they take on multiple dimensions and depth.Most interesting of all is Sutherland's character of Nelson. Nelson is not a character that is easy to like - indeed he is a bit of a (...), a master manipulator who definitely places self-interest above all else. Yet, Sutherland plays him with a hint of insecurity that lends him a certain appeal. As events unfold, you come to realize that much of Nelson's unpleasant personality is a smokescreen, a protective mask behind which hides a very uncertain and vulnerable young man burdened by a terrible secret. By revealing bits and pieces of Nelson's complex personality throughout the film, the writers, directors and cast gradually lead you towards a greater understanding of and sympathy for him. The character who started out as a "jerk" becomes important and valued in his own right - as you learn to "forgive" his previous behavior in light of new information. Your journey of discovery with Nelson reflects the characters own journeys towards self-understanding, as they too come to realize that everyone has value, and "everything we do matters."Which leads to my final comment. Although many of the posters here have picked up upon the theme of defying death - few seem to have touched upon what I see as the main premise of the movie - the importance of forgiveness, and the need to be cognizant of all you do, because it does "matter.""
Joel Shumacher's better work
The JuRK | 12/01/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Joel Shumacher royally screwed up the entire 'Batman' franchise, whereas his earlier works, such as the Grisham adaptions and this frightening flick 'Flatliners,' remain some of my favorites. He works well here with the awesome plot and the great actors, and has a hell of a time as any viewer can easily see in creating an eerie depth to his film, but where 'Flatliners' tends to fall short after every viewing is the ending, which turns a nearly remarkable film into a satisfying emotional flick. However, the fault lies with the screenwriter, and not Shumacher, which makes 'Flatliners' one of his best films, next to the wonderful adaption of Grisham's 'A Time To Kill' with Sandra Bullock. So what's wrong with the ending? Well, it takes a wonderfully inventive story and turns it around, much like 'The Sixth Sense' did, into an emotional drama. This type of 'horror-drama' thing worked for 'The Sixth Sense' with perfect clarity. However, this technique comes up empty-handed in 'Flatliners,' missing the perfect blend '6 Sense' had and creating an ending that just simply didn't seem to fit. However, this film succeeds in all other areas, especially that of acting.Keifer Sutherland has rarely been better than he is here, with his witty evil look and the ominous way he portrays himself onscreen. Julia Roberts is stunning and very emotionally moving in her role, and tends to be one of the most memorable characters, next to Sutherland. Kevin Bacon does an average performance, and William Baldwin - well, although he simply can't act, he does his damndest here, which is good enough for me. Oliver Platt is humorous, as always, while adding depth to a co-starring character in some respects, although at times he seems out-of-place here.Overall, I enjoyed this film. It scared the bejeepers out of me, and made me cry at the end, which in itself felt odd and out-of-place, but that's okay. It makes you think, and it's doubtful you'll forget the unforgettable story or the superb acting by the three title characters, Sutherland, Roberts, and Bacon. And it raises a very intersting question and, in my opinion, answers it quite well...what happens in life after death?and, more importantly, what happens after you've come back from the dead?"
A different but good movie.
AAI | Ohio | 02/05/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Honestly I never heard of this movie until a few months ago. I am a pretty big fan of Keifer Sutherland and some of his movies and of course his tv show 24. So about a month ago I blindly bought this movie just for the hell of it. The Flatliners stars Julia Roberts, Kevin Bacon, one of the Baldwins, and of course Keifer. The Flatliners itself is a pretty cool movie with a different concept than those in its genre. It deals with young medical students experimenting to find out if there is an afterlife. Once they come back from the afterlife they are haunted by the other side.This is one of the ultimate "Do not do this at home" movies. Although after I saw it I couldn't help from asking my friends "How much money would you do it for", lol. I bet one you see this you will be asking your friends.One area where it is lacking though is the DVD itself is lacking any kind of special features, interactive menus, and a decently layed out chapter selection. In all honestly the movie is pretty good but the DVD is terrible compared to other newer DVDs. To me things like that make a difference. The fact that it is cheap makes up for it though.I think if you enjoyed movies such as Stir of Echoes, The Sixth Sense, Vanilla Sky, or even the Mothman Prophies (underrated movie) you probably will enjoy this movie. At times it is dark and sorta twisted but it always stays on track and never bores you. Definetly check this movie out if you are a fan of Keifer Sutherland, Kevin Bacon or Julia Roberts because they all shine in this movie.Movie grade - B+
DVD Grade - D-"
An unquestionable masterpiece
Anton Yakovlev (firstname.lastname@example.org) | Worcester, MA | 06/11/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Flatliners is a remarkably audacious, wildly original exploration of one of the taboo topics of science and religion. Like Martin Scorsese's The Last Temptation of Christ, this film cannot be considered an all-time classic due to a highly opinionated viewpoint that may deeply offend some viewers. However, as far as direction, acting and suspense are concerned, few films rival Flatliners in its all-around splendor. Underneath a deceptively linear and seemingly simplistic script, there is much symbolism and underlying subtlety to be found in Schumacher's brilliant vision. Unlike the roller-coaster scenes of The Lost Boys that never materialize to be anything more than a misplaced piece of high-style imagery, the eerie, sometimes sacrilegious images that are thrown into the plot of Flatliners in a seemingly random fashion (the statues observed by the main character in the beginning, the merciless display of surgical operations) serve their purpose in implying the motivations and internal conflicts of the characters. Charged with alternatingly surprising and desperately predictable scenes, Flatliners is an exciting experience that will either frighten you or fascinate you but definitely will not leave anyone indifferent."