Thursday, November 13, 2008

New Movie: Flatliners

Has it really been 18 years since Julia Roberts, William Baldwin, Kevin Bacon, and Kiefer Sutherland first threw caution to the wind and vacationed in the afterlife?


Critics were underwhelmed, but I think this creepy suspense flick is pitch perfect.

The plot involves a group of rebellious med students who get their kicks by killing and resuscitating each other for increasingly long period of time (like, five-minutes long, not five-days long). Their time spent in the afterlife is both exhilarating and addictive, containing an opportunity to visit with lost loved ones and to confront demons.

The danger grows when some of the students begin to experience a blurring between real life and the afterlife (in a bad way). I found Kiefer Sutherland's dilemma to be particularly unsettling. Haunted by a boy that he tortured when he was young, he grows ever-more-desperate in his attempts to escape.

Nearly twenty years on, all of the major cast members continue to be high-profile, working actors. Well, if you count William Baldwin as high-profile, that is.

Even though critics didn't care for this movie, it proved to be ahead of its time. It has a lot in common, including a dread-heavy atmosphere, with those Japanese horror flicks that rely on perception-bending, unsettling encounters with the dead. I'm thinking The Ring, The Grudge, The Eye, etc. I'm not a big fan of those movies, but you can't deny that they're good at creeping you out on a visceral level.

This is a great addition to the Hulu stable, and if you're too young to have seen this when it was popular, you should really check it out. If nothing else, it's a great chance to see these stars doing something a little different from their usual. Well, except for Kevin Bacon. He does crazy stuff like this all the time.
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