Belfast Telegraph

Flatliners: Dark drama a real heartstopper

Film release: Flatliners (12A) 92 mins

By Damon Smith

In 1990, director Joel Schumacher brought together five of young Hollywood's bright lights - Kevin Bacon, William Baldwin, Oliver Platt, Julia Roberts and Kiefer Sutherland - for an outlandish thriller about curious medical students, who hope to find out what lies beyond death by intentionally flatlining then resuscitating each other using a defibrillator.

The resulting psychological horror hokum failed to scare up support from critics.

Danish director Niels Arden Oplev hopes to improve on the original with this belated sequel, which replicates the life-or-death interrogations of the first film. Sutherland is the only returning member of cast.

Dr Courtney Holmes (Ellen Page) invites handsome medical student Jamie (James Norton) into her laboratory in the basement for some fun. It transpires that her idea of 'fun' is to ask Jamie to stop her heart for one minute then bring her back to the land of the living.

Courtney hopes those 60 seconds will offer her a glimpse at an ethereal plane beyond our world. When she returns, Courtney seems invigorated and possesses new skills such as the ability to play the piano.

Jamie shares the secret with fellow students Marlo (Nina Dobrev), Ray (Diego Luna) and Sophia (Kiersey Clemons) and like him, they excitedly stop their hearts to venture into the light.

However, when they return to grim reality, the students discover that something unspeakable has travelled back with them and this dark force intends to claim their souls.

Tale of modern urban malaise

Film release: Daphne (15) 86mins

Thirtysomething singleton Daphne (Emily Beecham) is embedded in the ebb and flow of London life as a cook in a restaurant run by Joe (Tom Vaughan-Lawlor).

She enjoys flirting with her married boss and also entertains romantic overtures from a handsome nightclub bouncer called David (Nathaniel Martello-White).

Outside of the bedroom, she relaxes with philosophy books and struggles to connect to her mother Rita (Geraldine James), who has embraced Buddhism and mindfulness as a balm for the noise and stress of modern life.

During a day like any other, Daphne witnesses a brutal stabbing and, in that instant, her carefree attitude crumbles to dust. Her emotions go into a tailspin and she seeks solace in the bottle.

As Daphne's mental state deteriorates, she is forced to re-evaluate her priorities and gains greater clarity about the people that truly enrich her existence.

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