by John

In recent years, we have watched how studios churn out movie remakes (Baywatch, Point Break), adaptations of comic books (Wonder Woman, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice) and novels (Fifty Shades of Grey, Denial), and spin-off universes of popular franchises (Annabelle, Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones).

Suddenly, sequels don’t seem like a convenient reason for studios to make movies anymore.    

In 1990, Joel Schumacher made Flatliners, a science fiction psychological horror movie about five medical students who attempt to find out what lies beyond death by conducting experiments that produce near-death experiences. Starring Kiefer Sutherland, Julia Roberts, William Baldwin, Oliver Platt, and Kevin Bacon, the film written by Peter Filardi is considered by fans of the genre as a cult classic.

Twenty-seven years later, Danish filmmaker Niels Arden Oplev is bringing the movie back to life in the form of a sequel. Starring Ellen Page, Diego Luna, Nina Dobrev, James Norton, Kiersey Clemons, the movie has a plot similar to the original: teenagers conducting experiments on each other to prompt dangerous paranormal experiences. The sequel does not have a “2” behind the original title though (it is simply named Flatliners), and we wonder why.

The stylistic promotional movie poster features the protagonists in resting states, punctuated by accompanying blurry images coming off the side of their faces.

While you ponder whether this is how souls leave the body, here are six quick facts about the original movie that was a fan favourite.   

1. The 1990 movie was nominated for an Oscar! Charles L. Campbell and Richard C. Franklin were nominated in the Best Sound Editing category at the 63rd Academy Awards, but the prize went to The Hunt for Red October.

2. Val Kilmer turned down the role of the leading role of Nelson Wright, which eventually went to Kiefer Sutherland. Nicole Kidman was considered for Rachel Mannus, the only female character in the group of inquisitive medical students. In the end, Roberts was cast.

3. During filming, Roberts and Sutherland started dating. Love blossomed and the two got engaged, but alas - Roberts eventually called off the deal. She later married Lyle Lovett.

4. Schumacher collaborated with Roberts for the second time on the romance movie Dying Young (1991). He reportedly stated that he wasn’t the best person to direct the drama based on Marti Leimbach’s novel of the same name, but did it as a personal favour to Roberts because they had an enjoyable time working with her on Flatliners.

5. The last line from Sutherland’s character Nelson Wright in the movie is “Today wasn’t a good day to die.” This echoes the opening sequence where he looks at the city skyline and says to himself: "Today is a good day to die."

6. The initial marketing materials did not suggest that Flatliners (2017) is a sequel to the 1990 movie – visuals did not even include Sutherland. Fans only knew when the 50-year-old actor disclosed that he was reprising his role Nelson Wright from the original film.