The Lazarus Effect is bad, un-inventive and cheap filmmaking. Director David Gelb has successfully created one of the year’s worst films so far and one truly forgettable horror film that barely manages to produce an original jump scare. The Lazarus Effect struggles for most of its extremely short running time to keep things going, because its admittedly cool plot is absolutely ruined by a drawn out and empty script that takes not a single risk and forcefully remains seated in the comfort zone of modern day PG-13 garbage horror.
Frank (Mark Duplass) and Zoe (Olivia Wilde) are two scientists that are working on a genius project in their lab that if done correctly could bring someone or something back to life shortly after that thing has passed away. The science is there and the procedure has worked, but it has created unstable and explainable results.
An accident occurs, causing Frank to take extreme measures and use the procedure on Zoe, who just so happens to also be the love of his life. Now, strange things are starting to happen and the entire team is trapped in the compound to confront pure evil face-to-face.
I’ll admit it — the first trailer for The Lazarus Effect had me interested. The concept is a cool one and one that I’ve always wanted to see explored on film and in a horror movie none-the-less. What happens when we die? What would happen if we were brought back from that very same death? Heaven? Hell? Nothingness?
The Lazarus Effect does its worst to answer not one of those questions, unless you think a very brief mention of a past childhood nightmare equates to an endless amount of time spent in Hell. Do you want to know what Hell really is? Sitting through shit like this for 83 LOOOOOOOONG minutes.
Seriously, how does someone manage to make such a short film feel so damn long and tired? The Lazarus Effect builds up its concept rather quickly and shit hits the fan almost instantly, yet the majority of the film is spent in the dark, while members of the cast slowly piece together that their once-dead, but now alive again friend isn’t exactly who she was before she died and that now they’re all going to get killed in the most boring of fashions.
Director David Gelb does an excellent job hugging every single penny of the budget, revealing most deaths by way of lots (and I do mean lots) of lights flickering that eventually leads to the possessed/deranged half-dead “thing” popping up and “killing” someone off camera. Remember, this is a PG-13 film, which means minimal amounts of blood and even less creativity when it comes to killing.
Did I mention how lazy this film is? One of the victims literally gets stuffed into a cabinet…to death….by way of computer animated effects. Yeah — that’s what we like to call inside thinkers working in Hollywood.
Olivia Wilde does her best impression of Sam Niell from Event Horizon, but comes up a few hundred thousand million light years away short from hitting anything other than silence. They say that in space no one can hear you scream, but the reality is that in a theater showing The Lazarus Effect, no one can hear you sleeping (or snoring, if you do it under the film’s somewhat unconventional score, which is one of its ONLY positive factors).
The rest is history. Mark Duplass spends most of his time half-annoyed/half-upset about the fact that his girlfriend kind of died, but more so at the fact that the school where the lab is located shut down their project and funding and took away everything.
Donald Glover is also in this one, but no one seems to know why, because he’s not all that funny and he’s even worse at trying to play Olivia Wilde‘s best friend/wannabe lover.
Wilde does try so hard to go completely nuts in the film’s final fifteen minutes, but by this point the flashbacks have grown old and the film’s lack of any real suspense or point has drawn the final straw.
The Lazarus Effect is why I sometimes hate being a fan of horror films, because it combines bits and pieces of ideas and concepts from much better horror films, while never bothering to add its own flavor. It also does this without any idea how to scare someone without the use of cheap lighting tricks that are barely passable as jump scares.
I have no idea why Blumhouse produced this one, because it definitely marks an all-time low for the company and for every single person involved in the making of this movie/torture experience. The idea of seeing this movie and then dying, only to be brought back to life to watch it all over again has me shitting my pants and begging for an eternal resting place that is on the opposite end of the universe and far away from where ever this film is circulating.
The Lazarus Effect – 5.5/10