Kiefer Sutherland, not yet a chubster pretending to be an action hero, was still a young beauty when he starred in Flatliners (1990) along with then-youthful Julia Roberts, Kevin Bacon, William Baldwin & Oliver Pratt. A splendid cast.
It's an A-budget treatment of teensploitation horror, & a damned fine take on its commercial substance.
In a combination rebellious teens (or twenty-somethings) & science nerd premise, a group of medical students are investigating near-death experiences.
They take turns killing & reviving each other & reporting on what they experienced on the other side, selecting a rather filthy secret location which is good for atmospherics even if otherwise improbable.
There's a point along each death-journey, they fully understand, where there is no return, & they keep pushing the limits. When it becomes all too clear they have brought darkness back with them from the afterlife, their bad choice for an experiment becomes even less fun.
There are some triumphs & tragedies in the tale that are not derived from the horror element, but from life, & the hauntings they begin experiencing are manifestations of their own cruel acts or traumatizing experiences during childhood. This is psychologically a lot deeper stuff than one expects of a horror film, & it upraises Flatliners enormously.
Characterization is so well done & the acting so topnotch, it could almost have been a great film even if it hadn't included a supernatural horror ingredient, if it had just been about these students' lives. Of course giving it a socko story makes it even better, for how often does one see a film that is as good for character as it is for horror.
copyright © by Paghat the Ratgirl