From the people that brought us the ‘Paranormal Activity’ and ‘Insidious’ movies, ‘The Lazarus Effect’ attempts to recreate the spark that made those movies such a huge hit. Unfortunately, this movie leaves much to be desired.
‘The Lazarus Effect’ is predictable, not scary, and essentially rips off a movie that came out less than a year ago. One of the redeeming qualities of this movie is the cast who are quite brilliant.
This movie may be able to catch your attention from its trailers but after seeing it, you’ll never really care if you see it again.
‘The Lazarus Effect’ tells the story of a team of doctors who have developed a serum, code-named “Lazarus” that would allow doctors to bring patients back from the dead. After several trials on animals prove successful, the team’s research and funding is revoked when they violate a part of their contract.
In an attempt to prove that they are the ones that made the discovery, they return to the lab in the middle of the night, to recreate the experiment. In this attempt, Zoe (Olivia Wilde) is electrocuted and dies. Her grieving fiancé Frank (Mark Duplass) and their team try to bring Zoe back from the dead using this serum.
It works, but it has dire consequences. Zoe is not who she used to be, displaying telepathic and telekinetic abilities that start to freak out the rest of the team. When one of them gets sucked into one of Zoe’s nightmares, they start to believe that maybe they have unleashed an unspeakable evil.
I wanted to see this movie because it seemed like it had an interesting story and I love the cast. I’ve never seen a horror movie recently that had a cast as well known as this. This was enough to get me to see it and I am so easily terrified by horror movies. Example: I watched the first two ‘Paranormal Activity’ movies with two of my friends in high school and now I have a deep rooted fear of the paranormal.
So, if a horror movie can’t scare me, I do not expect it to do a whole lot for seasoned horror buffs (I’m looking at you Kathy). All of the scares are really recycled and the movie doesn’t really bring anything new to the table. There are countless moments when the viewer hears a sharp piano key sound and the now demonic Zoe is behind whoever is about to die. There are also like 10 shots of the side view of a situation and someone being sucked into a closet or something.
The scariest part about this movie going experience was the piece of ceiling that fell down mid-way through the movie that made my mind immediately say “If there’s a ghost in here, I want my money back”. Also, the ‘Insidious: Chapter 3’ trailer was terrifying, and you would have to drag me into that theater and strap my eyes open to get me to see that.
They don’t really make it clear why this is happening to Zoe. It is more prominently said that the serum could have allowed her to use more of her brain, giving way to these newfound powers. If that is the case, the film feels a lot like ‘Lucy’ which starred Scarlet Johansson, who after ingesting a powder, opens up 100% of her brain capacity. It makes it less scary knowing that she can just use more of her brain rather than a demon sneaking in and wreaking havoc. There are a lot of parallels that I could draw between ‘The Lazarus Effect’ and ‘Lucy’, making me feel like I’ve seen it before and made for a boring viewing experience.
Finally, I would like to know why a small child always has to have a role in a horror film? All of these recent movies are giving rise to a generation of people who’s immediate reaction when they see a little girl framed in a doorway is to scream “BE GONE DEMON,” and deliver a roundhouse kick to the face.
I give ‘The Lazarus Effect’ 3 out of 5 film reels.
‘The Lazarus Effect’ was released February 27, 2015 and stars Olivia Wilde, Evan Peters, Mark Duplas, Donald Glover, and Sarah Bolger. The film is directed by David Gelb.