A team of scientists successfully create a serum that can bring
living beings back from the dead, but with disastrous consequences.
The Lazarus Effect (2015)
Directed by David Gelb
Written by Luke Dawson and Jeremy Slater
Starring Olivia Wilde, Mark Duplass, Sarah Bolger,
Evan Peters, Donald Glover, Ray Wise
The Lazarus Effect had a neat idea and a chilling set-up, but faltered big time in the execution. It's never a good idea to bring up huge, overarching philosophical questions about life and death if they're never going to connect to the plot. It just becomes a giant elephant in the room and makes you lose the audience. With a strong cast and a wasted premise, this film is one big fat disappointment from the second act on. If it wasn't for Olivia Wilde's unsettling inhuman performance, this would've been a waste of time altogether.
The idea of resurrecting the dead through the miracles of science has always been a recurring theme in the horror genre, since before Boris Karloff slathered on all that freaky makeup in 1931. The Lazarus Effect took it a step further and cut out the involvement of nature, making it purely man's design to spit in the face of God. It had such potential to be a mesmerizing and unforgettable psychological horror show. Chalk it up to lazy writing and a lack of ideas on how to end this thing. After Zoe (Wilde) dies and is brought back, she has psychic powers, can bring people into her nightmares, and is inexplicably super evil. Gone is the psychological subtext, replaced in favor of jump scares and predictability, two signs of a horror film desperate for scares.
Horror has always been a genre that is 10% well-made movies and 90% paycheck gigs for big name actors. Sadly, The Lazarus Effect falls into the latter category. There's very little to like about it and despite its decent cast and intriguing first act, it falls apart and becomes just another waste of space in the discount horror section at your local Wal-Mart.