The Lazarus Effect was Lazy Resurrected Horror Tropes
The Lazarus Effect
Directed by: David Gelb
Written by: Luke Dawson, Jeremy Slater
Starring: Mark Duplass, Olivia Wilde, Donald Glover, Evan Peters, Sarah Bolger
Running time: 83 minutes
Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of horror violence, terror and some sexual references
Think of a horror movie revolving around bringing the dead back to life, only to have that resurrection go very wrong. Now, write down as many of those film titles as you can. Now you should have a list a handful of film titles, or if you are a horror film connoisseur you may have a list with dozens of titles. Now do the same thing with demonic/supernatural possession/evil spirits. You should now have two lists of movies that thoroughly cover all the territory covered in The Lazarus Effect. It is something I anticipated, simply based on the title and the tagline, “Evil will rise”. Those two things tell us someone dies, is brought back to life, and comes back evil. It is one of the oldest plot devices in the horror genera. What I expected this film to lack in original plot, I hoped it would make up for in original execution, creative exposition, or visually stimulating effects. What we got was a tired plot, strained execution, ridiculous exposition, and resurrected visual effects, with the odd startle tactic. Making an audience jump out of their seats is not the same as scaring your audience. I startle when anything unexpected happens suddenly, it’s usually just one of my kids dropping something in the next room, not a daemon from hell stalking me in the dark. Forgive my not giving credit to a film for achieving the same thing a 6-year-old dropping a package of cookies from the top shelf does. What this film did do was bringing a dog back to life, make it creepy, and then criminally underuse it.
The Lazarus Effect follows a group of researchers, Frank(Mark Duplass) and his fiancé Zoe (Olivia Wilde), Clay (Evan Peters), and Niko (Donald Glover), and documentarian Eva (Sarah Bolger) who have achieved the unimaginable – bringing the dead back to life. After a successful, yet unsanctioned, trial on a newly deceased animal, the team is ready to unveil their breakthrough to the world. When the dean of their university learns of their underground experiments, their project is unexpectedly shut down and their materials confiscated. Frank, Zoe and their team take matters into their own hands, launching a rogue attempt to recreate their experiment, during which things go terribly wrong and one of their own, Zoe, is horrifically killed. Fueled by terror and grief, Frank pushes them to do the unthinkable: attempt to resurrect their first human test subject. Initially, the procedure appears a success, but the team soon realizes something is wrong with Zoe. As her strange new persona reveals itself, the team quickly becomes stuck in a gruesome reality. They are no longer faced with the question
Long story short this film has a tired plot, and gimmicks, and a cast that was better than the material they had to work with. This is really a case of a very mediocre film happening to a good group of actors, and one dog. This film is nothing more than an unimaginative dull walk through well-traveled territory bringing nothing new to the table.