"Flatliners" Takes Us Beyond Death in High-Definition

Joel Schumacher’s “Flatliners” is one of the latest 1990s films to get a Blu-ray upgrade. Before popping the disc in my player, I found myself reminiscing about the movie. I saw it during Summer vacation while visiting my father. I was dropped off at the theater and remember the movie being tense and frightening. I was curious how well it would stand up on a watch twenty five years later.

Five students at a prestigious medical school want an answer to one simple question: “Is there life after death?” After hearing several first-hand accounts from other people, they decide to experiment on themselves. Each one crosses over from life into the beyond and return. Now the question they want answered is, “What have we brought back with us and what do they want?”

“Flatliners” is presented in anamorphic widescreen with a 2.35:1 aspect ratio. Jan De Bont’s cinematography and varying illumination for each sequence play a major role in how memorable the film is. The high-definition upgrade strikes that point home even harder with a clean picture that doesn’t lose its original “real” film charm. I didn’t find anything bothersome about the Dolby Digital sound. The dialogue, musical score, and atmosphere noises all blended well together.  

This is the part of the review where I describe all the great special features included in the latest Blu-ray release of “Flatliners.” The problem is there weren’t any. I can’t believe no one could find some old “Making of” footage or even a few theatrical trailers and TV spots to tack on as bonus material.

“Flatliners” is rated R for violence, language, adult situations, and nudity. It gets a bit brutal in some places, but nowhere near like most movies today. Without the unnecessary nudity, this very well could have been PG-13.

Boasting a great line-up of actors who went on to do great things, “Flatliners” captures them in all their fresh-faced glory. It’s a melodramatic thrill ride that draws you back for multiple viewings. Although some of the horrors the group members bring back from their near-death experiences seem silly, the concept as a whole is endearing. The gothic settings, dark ambiance, and elegant lighting add more reasons for you to re-visit the film or see it for the first time.   

"Flatliners" is available now on Blu-ray.