The best that can be said about the “Flatliners” remake is that the new filmmaking team of writer Ben Ripley and director Niels Arden Oplev makes the original’s members look like peerless masters of horror.
The 2017 “Flatliners” stars Ellen Page as Courtney, a medical student in a prestigious program, who’s having trouble getting past the death of her sister. Whenever she’s not on call, Courtney revives the experiments from the first film, enlisting the help of four other young docs — played by Kiersey Clemons, James Norton, Nina Dobrev and Diego Luna — to explore the realm beyond death.
The characters get a lot more setup and back story before the dying begins in the new “Flatliners.” There’s also a lot more emphasis on the health benefits of flatlining, as these afterlife adventurers come back smarter, randier and primed to excel at their competitive school.
But while the original’s star Kiefer Sutherland plays a minor role that perhaps provides continuity between the two films, there’s not a whole lot of expansion of the mythology here. Instead, what happens to Courtney and company is pretty much what happened to Sutherland and his pals 27 years ago.
One by one the students find themselves in deadly situations, seemingly assailed by physical manifestations of their worst choices — while styled and posed to look like catalog models. It’s the same dreary hooey, made more tedious and witless through repetition.
Rating: PG-13, for violence and terror, sexual content, language, thematic material and some drug references.
Running time: 1 hour, 48 minutes
Playing: In general release