In anticipation of the upcoming Flatliners sequel, PopHorror has decided to travel back in time nearly three decades to 1990 and revisit the film that started it all. Directed by Joel Schumacher (Lost Boys), the original film was filled with an all star cast, including Kiefer Sutherland (Lost Boys), Julia Roberts (Pretty Woman), Kevin Bacon (Stir of Echoes), William Baldwin (Backdraft) and Oliver Platt (Lake Placid).
Five medical students Nelson (Sutherland), Rachel (Roberts), David (Bacon), Joe (Baldwin), and Steckle (Platt) experiment on near death experiences that involve past tragedies until the dark consequences begin to jeopardize their lives.
The Creep Factors
Flatliners is one of the only horror movies to really freak me out when I first saw it. I suspect this for the following reasons:
1) The lighting and setting of the film gives it a very eerie feeling. The creepy angel statues don’t help, either. I felt like they were staring right through me.
2) The music in the opening scene was spooky. They played gospel music, which always gives me the chills.
3) The idea of Flatliners itself is creepy. The thought of not knowing what’s out there after death is unnerving enough, so the thought of medical students finding out not only what’s after death but also bringing back their dark pasts is unsettling. It certainly makes me wonder what I might bring back if I did this.
Throughout the film, there are five main characters that are different in their own ways.
1) Nelson is the leader of the group. He’s the one who comes up with the idea to find out what happens after death. Nelson is also the one who brings the other students together.
2) Rachel is the innocent one. She just wants to make sure there is something after death, because she has had family die and wants to make sure that they are in a good place.
3) David is the voice of reason in Flatliners. He was the one who never really wanted to do the experiment, but when he does, he’s the one who brings the others back to life and is constantly telling the group not to do it.
4) Joe is in the experiment for the fame it might bring. He keeps saying how famous they will all be throughout the film. I couldn’t help but kind of hate his character because of how sleazy he was. For example, he tapes the woman without them knowing.
5) Randy is the one who documents everything. He’s also the most cautious one, because he never does go under.
1) Val Kilmer turned down the role of Nelson Wright, which in the end, was cast with Kiefer Sutherland. (A good thing in my opinion)
2) Nicole Kidman was considered for the role of Rachel Mannus, a role that ended up going to Julia Roberts.
3) The picture garnered an Oscar nomination in 1991 for Best Sound Effects Editing, but lost out to The Hunt for Red October (1990).
4) Although the movie featured a cast of popular young American actors, none of them were members of the group of 1980s actors and actresses known as The Brat Pack, many of whom had starred in Joel Schumacher’s earlier picture, St. Elmo’s Fire (1985).
5) Lighting in the movie is a significant predictor of what will happen in the scene. A deep orange color is usually a sign of promise and positivity, while blue usually means something bad will happen.
So when you’re getting ready to check out this year’s upcoming Flatliners film, be sure to give credit where credit is due with a rehashing of the 1990 original flick. You’ll be glad you did!