The new 'Flatliners' doesn't look like it's got much life to it

The trailer for the upcoming Flatliners reboot has arrived, and, to someone who's a fan of the original, it doesn't look too promising.

For those unfamiliar with the original Flatliners, released in 1990, it's a psychological-horror flick about a band of medical students who try to answer one of life's biggest questions: What happens after we die? After flatlining, each of the characters is haunted by bad things they've done in their lives, which are brought to the surface by the near-death experience.

The first Flatliners was directed by Joel Schumacher and featured an impressive cast: Julia Roberts, Kevin Bacon, Oliver Platt, Billy Baldwin and Kiefer Sutherland. No disrespect to the reboot's roster, but the 2017 Flatliners doesn't have the same sort of star-wattage. It's got Ellen Page billed at the top, supported by Vampire Diaries' Nina Dobrev and Rogue One's Diego Luna, among others.

Maybe in 27 years' time we'll look back at this redux and be amazed that director Niels Arden Oplev — whose previous credits include the 2009 Swedish version of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo — somehow wrangled Page, Dobrev and Luna into the same film, but it's doubtful. (Sutherland is actually slated to appear as well — playing his original character, no less — but judging from his no-show in the trailer, it's probably a minor part.)

Ellen Page as Courtney, coercing someone to help her flatlineSony Pictures Entertainment/YouTube

The new trailer focuses on Ellen Page's character, Courtney, who flirts with another student as a ploy to get him to join her on her death-defying mission. Soon enough, they're roping more people in and they're all spending more and more time on the other side. Eventually, something goes awry because this is a horror film and something needs to go awry.

It all looks fine enough, but the preview definitely has the air of a movie that's probably taking itself a little too seriously. (For a cautionary tale against joyless horror reboots, look no further than the totally unnecessary 2010 remake of A Nightmare on Elm Street.) The 1990 version of Flatliners is by no means a cinema classic, but it's got its charms. It's got a pretty unbelievable cast of actors sharing the screen together. It's got a pretty cheesy premise that's oh-so-perfect for its time. Yeah, it gets pretty ridiculous and melodramatic, but that's part of the fun.

And that's what looks to be missing from this trailer — fun. I suppose what I really want to ask is: Was this necessary? Was anyone really looking for an updated, probably-too-intense take on Flatliners?

If you were, good news: You can watch the trailer for the new Flatliners below.

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