Columbia Pictures released Flatliners on August 10, 1990. Joel Schumacher directed the film which starred Kiefer Sutherland, Kevin Bacon, and Julia Roberts.
Flatliners (1990) Movie Summary
When medical student Nelson Wright decides, it is “a good day to die,” he puts a plan into action to literally die. See, Nelson, played by Kiefer Sutherland, wants to explore what it is like to be dead and experience any type of afterlife activity. Nelson recruits four of his fellow students to help him execute his experiment. Rachel, David, Joe, and Randy, portrayed by Julia Roberts, Kevin Bacon, William Baldwin, and Oliver Platt, respectively, complete their task of making sure Nelson dies, experiences death for exactly one minute, and is successfully resurrected. While going through death, Nelson sees the image of a boy he “bullied” as a child. This boy, Billy Mahoney, somehow establishes a spiritual presence in Nelson’s life and begins tormenting him both physically and psychologically. Nelson chooses to hide this fact from his colleagues.
Astonished by Nelson’s successful experiment, Joe, David, and Rachel all follow in his footsteps and flatline themselves. Each of the trio visit the afterlife and, like Nelson, stir up sins of their pasts. Joe, a cad who secretly video tapes his countless sexual escapades, has visions of women he has taken advantage of over the years. Next, David has flashbacks of his childhood, when he and his friends tormented a young girl named Winnie Hicks in the school yard. Lastly, Rachel revisits the day she walked into a room while her Vietnam veteran father was shooting up heroin. This incident leads to her father to commit suicide.
David comes to realization that this quartet needs to atone for their sins in order to be relieved of their respective torments. So David seeks out Winnie Hicks in attempt to apologize to her for his bullying. Rachel has a confrontation with the spirit of her deceased father and attempts to make peace with him. Meanwhile, Joe is still chased around town by the women he videotaped and never really has the opportunity to atone for his action. He just catches his fiancé watching one of the tapes. OOPS! Most importantly, Nelson has lethal encounters with “Billy Mahoney” where we learn that you should never resurrect old demons, even if you believe you have paid for the sins in the past.
After all is said and done, the “Flatliners” determine there is never a good day to die, but fail to answer one very important question: Why in the hell was Oliver Platt even in this movie?
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