tek's rating: ¾

Flatliners (R)
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This came out in 1990, and I feel like I probably saw it on TV sometime in the early 90s. But, I didn't remember anything beyond the basic premise by the time I re-watched it in 2024. I had been meaning to watch it for awhile, ever since I discovered that it was on Hulu, but I finally did so on the night that "Lisa Frankenstein" opened in theaters, just because the people in this movie were basically playing God, kind of like Victor Frankenstein did. (Although I don't think "Lisa Frankenstein" has a whole lot in common with the original Frankenstein story.) Anyway, before I re-watched the movie, I assumed I'd put my review under "sci-fi horror", but while watching it I decided it fits a bit better under "psychological horror". I'll link to it in both categories, though.

So, there are these five medical students: Nelson Wright (Kiefer Sutherland), Rachel Manus (Julia Roberts), David Labraccio (Kevin Bacon), Joe Hurley (William Baldwin), and Randy Steckle (Oliver Platt). Nelson wants to do an experiment in which his friends would medically induce death in him, just for a minute or so, then bring him back to life. He wants to learn what, if anything, lies beyond death. They're all reluctant to do it, but finally they agree. After he comes back, he begins being haunted by visions of his childhood dog, and then by a kid he had known named Billy Mahoney, who throughout the film occasionally attacks him, causing real injuries, despite apparently being incorporeal. But Nelson doesn't tell his friends about this, and all of them, except Randy, take turns undergoing the experiment themselves. And they all begin to be haunted by their own pasts. Eventually, they'll have to confront their personal demons to try and end the hauntings.

That's basically all I want to say about the plot. I will say I really didn't like Joe, who definitely deserved everything that happened to him. I guess Rachel was likable enough, and Randy was at least a bit amusing. David wasn't so bad, either. Nelson was too reckless and arrogant. I did think it was a fairly decent story, and I liked the whole look of the film, very creepy. And the whole thing was disturbing, as it should be. So... I'm glad to have seen it again, but overall I didn't think it was great, just okay. And I probably never need to see it again after this.

In 2017 there was a sort of sequel that was also just called "Flatliners", which I'd probably like to see sometime.

psychological horror index
sci-fi horror index