By Cynthia Ayala
“Five medical students, obsessed by what lies beyond the confines of life, embark on a daring experiment: by stopping their hearts for short periods, each triggers a near-death experience – giving them a firsthand account of the afterlife.” —IMDB
Oh boy. Where to begin. First, let’s begin by saying that this film at the very least had a very strong beginning. As a reboot, there were parts where this film improved upon the original. It delved into their view of the afterlife, the energy was there, and the longer they stayed dead, the darker it seemed to get, much like the original. However, what It improves upon is the fright factor of their guilt, of what they have done in their lives which comes back to haunt them. It has the spook factor for about ¾’s of the film. You have the ghost’s of their guilt coming back to haunt them, something sinister and almost demonic hunting them.
That is about it.
When one the central character dies, which was unexpected and a nice twist on the original, something shifts in the storytelling forcing the story into a cheesy direction. Instead of facing their ghost’s again, their memories, they challenge the idea by going to the people they have wronged and ask for forgiveness. Then, of course, their sins are absolved. They face what they have done but in the cheesiest way possible. It is at this point that the original continues to be better. The original does not lose the spook in exchange for cheesy storytelling. This one took a left turn somewhere and couldn’t find it is way back.
However, there is a bright side to this dismal storytelling. At least the film had some good acting and plausible science behind it. Ellen Page was probably the best one here, her performance was just cut too short, and instead of doing anything meaningful with her death in the film, the film decides to skate over it with more cheese and copout storytelling. Yes, the rest of the cast was substantial in their performances, but at times the dynamics, the chemistry between them was stiff. Not overall, but the eagerness if the film to pair the cast members of the film with each other was two-dimensional at best and took away from what could have been a stronger story.
Also, can we please talk realism here. Real doctor’s don’t wear heels all the time on. Come on guys; it is the 21st century, actresses should not be defined by their heels. It is also not realistic at all. Just think about it. That is just a pet peeve of mine.
This film was just a mediocre reboot that failed to capitalize on what made the original entertaining to watch. (★★☆☆ | C-)
Directed by Niels Arden Oplev
Written by Ben Ripley
Distributed by Sony Pictures