By Angie Raphael

2.5 stars

People often wonder why Hollywood bothers with remakes. A film is either a memorable classic or not worth reworking. Flatliners, which was a surprise success in 1990, falls into the latter category and yet screenwriter Ben Ripley and director Niels Arden Oplev proceeded with a remake anyway. The film centres on five medical students who experiment with briefly stopping their hearts to experience the afterlife, but they soon realise there are dangerously haunting consequences to their actions. To the film's credit, it does modernise the story to some extent by making it more culturally diverse and less sexist. The entire experiment is a woman's idea (Ellen Page) after the tragic death of her younger sister, and two other women (Nina Dobrev and Kiersey Clemons) are also relatively complex characters, with one hiding a deadly secret and the other struggling academically to live up to her mother's expectations. Meanwhile, the men are less interesting. James Norton plays the typical good-looking rich boy, who has a boring sub-plot involving an ex-girlfriend, while Diego Luna plays the only student not willing to risk his life but the audience disappointingly only gets a glimpse into his personality and background. Kiefer Sutherland, who starred in the original, also has a small role in this version, although it is a total waste of his talent. Flatliners has a few spooky moments, helped by the music and sound effects, but the film is too long and some of the dialogue is woeful, which distracts from the thrills. I have no doubt the Flatliners reboot will be forgotten soon enough.