Flatliners: Why the remake was such a flop


There are plenty of new editions of cult films, but not every one will be a hit. The remake of "Flatliners" turned out to be a cinema flop in 2017.

The sci-fi horror film "Flatliners – Today is a beautiful day to die" by director Joel Schumacher (1939-2020) from 1990 has a certain cult status and even received an Oscar nomination in 1991. With stars such as Julia Roberts, Kiefer Sutherland and Kevin Bacon, the work dealing with near-death experience is top-class. The remake of the same name was released in 2017 in the cinemas 27 years later – as everyone knows, Hollywood loves new editions. On Sunday (August 2nd, 10:20 pm) "Flatliners" celebrates the German free TV premiere on RTL (or via TVNow).

That's what "Flatliners" is all about

The premise in 2017 is the same as in 1990: Five medical students want to find out the secret of whether there really is an afterlife. To do this, they embark on a dangerous experiment: they briefly stop their heartbeat in order to experience a near-death experience. But their attempts are becoming more and more threatening and the students soon learn that the game with a view of the afterlife has consequences. They will never let go of their insights.

Neither critics nor viewers are convinced

The remake of "Flatliners" was hardly convincing compared to the original. At the box office worldwide, the mere 45 million US dollars can be booked. The work of the Danish director Niels Arden Oplev (59, "Verblendung") does not get away well with the critics or the public. On the well-known international critic portal "Rotten Tomatoes", "Flatliners" only has four percent of the critics. The cinema-goers were a little more merciful, here the film can book 33 percent.


The criticism's tenor: the film is uninspired and without any new ideas. The plot splashes like a zero line and never picks up speed. The critic of the US magazine "Entertainment Weekly" even judged at the time that "in a time of unnecessary remakes" "Flatliners" may be "the most unnecessary of all".

Even the prominent cast couldn't change anything about it. With "Juno" star Ellen Page (33), "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story" hero Diego Luna (40) and the former "Vampire Diaries" lead actress Nina Dobrev (31), "Flatliners" would have the potential had to pull quite a few fans into the cinemas. But a remake needs more.