The Lazarus Effect Gives Horror a Bad Name [Review]

The Lazarus Effect

Medical researchers Frank Walton and Zoe McConnell (Mark Duplass and Olivia Wilde) and their assistants Niko and Clay (Donald Glover and Evan Peters) are developing a formula to bring patients back from extended death without any damage to the brain. The formula, which they have named Lazarus, is in the animal testing phase, and they successfully bring a cadaver dog back to life. But intervention at the hands of the grant people take all their research away. Face with failure the group sneaks back into their lab to recreate the experiment, so they have proof of what they achieved. But Zoe gets electrocuted and that's when all hell breaks loose.  

The Lazarus Effect starts off strong, with likable characters and actors who spout enough scientific jargon and theories to sound believable. It helps that most of the cast aren’t people you normally associate with the horror genre, with the exception of Peters who is one of the permanent members of American Horror Story. This keeps the audience from forming expectations about the individuals before the real horror portion begins.

Once that happens, though, the movie slides down Predictable Slope, getting stuck in Cliche Canyon. Zoe quickly acts like the spawn of Carrie and Damien, but with less motivation. Other than a quick rehash of the old 10% brain usage mantra, there is no exploration as to why this increase in brain activity would cause her to become homicidal. Since this part of the movie takes place in one night, they rush through her transformation and rely on us to just accept her ability to hear everyone’s frightened thoughts about her as reason enough to want to kill them all.

The directing, acting and cinematography are the only positives in this movie. The real iceberg to this Titanic is the writing. A beautiful 'Vertigo' shot can't save a film when the plot doesn't exist and there is no character development.  

It's a shame that Blumhouse put this out because I usually enjoy their productions, with just a few exceptions. It just seems that everyone involved had to know that this move is just flat out boring and pointless. Maybe the only redeeming scene is the final shot, but again it was too little, too late.

The verdict, save yourself the time and skip this. If you want a movie about coming back from death that is awesome watch 'Flatliners'.

Rating: 4/10 Stars 

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