The Lazarus Effect (2015)
Director: David Gelb
A team of inept â€śIâ€™m supposed to believe these areâ€ť med students find a way to bring the dead back to life. Shit goes wrong. Cue in â€śduhâ€ť.
And another dump time February special! Lionsgate used to have THE LAZARUS EFFECT (produced by Blumhouseâ€™s Jason Blum) in their roster until they wisely kicked it the f*ck to the curb and Relativity picked it up out of the trash. So yeah, it didnâ€™t look good for this one off the bat. With that aside, I went into this screening cold; I hadnâ€™t watched shit (trailers) and knew very little as to what the film was about. Alas even with ZERO expectations in tow, this cinematic mess wound up being quite the chore to sit through.
Before I go into rage mode on this one, let me give THE LAZARUS EFFECT its dues. I dug its initial idea i.e. bringing people back from the dead (Lazarus was some dude that Christ raised from the dead - get it!); too bad it never went much further than thatâ€¦ a simple idea. And although director David Gelb could not squeeze any suspense out of this by the book lemon (dude had one fear trick â€ślights go off, shit happens, lights go onâ€ť â€“ rinse and repeatâ€¦ snore), he did showcase some gripping moments via stylish framing, eerie atmosphere and a potent use of push-ins and slow motion. Moreover; the flick rolled out at an even pace. The thing was so thin, it made for an easy watch. Last but certainly not least; Olivia Wilde was pretty much the sole character that I gave a hoot about here and when the film allowed her to, she had lots of fun with the role. I couldnâ€™t help but think how badass her character would have been if in a fully developed movie. If only. Which brings me to my peeves as to this undercooked stinker. For starters, did anybody know what was the story they were telling here or were they just throwing random narrative darts at the wall hoping one of them would stick?
Sorry but tossing elements from Flatliners (medical students), Pet Semetary (revived corpse who goes loco), Event Horizon (hell follows) and Lucy (brain power stuff) my way with a loosey-goosey internal logic to it all does not make for a well rounded tale. A convoluted and groan inducing one though? YOU GOT IT! Talk about half -baked! It sure didnâ€™t help that Olivia Wilde aside, I didnâ€™t believe these folks could count up to 10 yet alone be medical geniuses. Not totally the actorsâ€™ fault, some were miscast and they all didn't have much to work with. Donald Gloverâ€™s character simply had nothing to do here but have â€śgoogleyâ€ť eyes for Wilde and fill up space. Mark Duplassâ€™ "genius" character kept doing dumb moves to serve the plot while Sarah Bolger did what she had to do, but being that her character was new to the group, it made ZERO sense that she would stick around after the madness kicked in. Special WTF mention goes to Evan Peters as the token wild and crazy guy of the lot. Witnessing him smoke that vapor cigarette and acting all stoner from it cracked me up. We donâ€™t have the movie bad boys we used to have man. Call me old school but a freaking vapor cigarette tagged to a stock "rebel" role doesn't work for me. LMAO! I just can't do it Captain!
Tag to that a rushed and mucho predictable chain of events, a lack of exteriors that worked against the experience, a cheap looking set and the overwhelming sense that this one was supposed to have meat to it but that A- they didnâ€™t shoot it due to lack of time/budget or B-They shaved it off in the editing room cause they knew they had a stinker that didnâ€™t gel together, and you get a film that shouldnâ€™t even be on the big screen. I say save your coin and keep it for a real celluloid meal, not for a light-weight and sloppy burritos like this one.
Some blood. Meh.
T & A
THE LAZARUS EFFECT reeked of too many cooks banged the maid and the end result was elements from better horror films jumbled together with little cohesion. Yes Olivia Wilde was the tits, the flick sported an endearingly bleak mood, an easy pace and there were a handful of visual moments that hit home, but on the whole you can do better than this predictable, fright-less and reeks of editing room chop job sub-product. Next in line please!
Evan Peters played Quicksilver, X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014).
Donald Glover worked as a writer for the NBC comedy 30 Rock (2006) and also does stand-up. So heâ€™s a funny guy? You wouldnâ€™t know from his presence in this movie.