Arrow video has brought the 1990 film Flatliners to the world of Blu-Ray. There a couple of editions: standard Blu-Ray and UHD version. Since I don’t have anything that will play that, so I’ll just be talking about the standard edition Blu-Ray.
Onto the movie itself, I remember when this was originally released in 1990. It seemed at the time that everyone was talking about it. I remembering seeing it once or twice when it was first released on home video, but not being all that impressed with it. Well, times change, and after all those years, I think I have a better appreciation of the film. Put another way, I get it.
It clearly had an all-star cast from Julia Roberts to Keifer Sutherland and Kevin Bacon. Interestingly of those three, I have very different takes on each. I’ve never really cared for Julia Roberts. I don’t know why, but she’s never really clicked for me. Kevin Bacon I love in Tremors, but overall I’m more or less neutral toward him. Now, Kiefer Sutherland is an actor I have always liked a lot. So, in terms the big names in the cast, I came into this fairly neutral.
The movie centers around a group of medical students who are trying to answer the age old question of “is there something after death?” They are doing it by stopping their hearts under controlled conditions, with the others bringing the person back after a short period of time.
They get interesting enough results after the first time to keep them motivated for further attempts. A dark side starts to manifest, though. I won’t give more of the story away because that would be spoilers, and if you like me haven’t seen it in years, I bet you have forgotten a lot of it. I know I had. I’d also bet that there is a whole generation who has never seen the movie.
While this has some horror aspects, overall I’m not sure I’d call it horror, but perhaps more dark fantasy. That said, it is definitely spooky, creepy and dark. There is a sense of foreboding and danger through a lot of the film. Whatever you label it as, though, it’s a compelling and very intriguing film. I’m not completely sold on the ending myself because I think I would have preferred a different type of resolution. That’s all personal preference, though.
This particular edition is re-mastered both visually and audio-wise, and it looks and sounds great. There are number of bonus features included, too, but the movie itself is the real gem here. I doubt many people will watch the interviews more than once or twice. Still, they are worth having and more or less icing on the cake. All in all, this is quite the tasty morsel. It’s a great excuse to revisit this if you haven’t seen it in years, and well worth checking out for the first time, if you’ve never seen it. Gary Hill