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Review: The Lazarus Effect

The Lazarus Effect
02.27.2015
3 10

PLOT: A team of medical researchers invent a serum (which they dub Lazarus) that is capable of bringing dead patients back to life. When one of the doctors – Zoe (Olivia Wilde) suffers a deadly accident, they use the serum to bring her back, and while successful, they soon discover that their colleague has changed since visiting the other side.

REVIEW: Does anyone think that premise sounds familiar? If you’ve seen Joel Schumacher’s stylish (and gloriously silly) FLATLINERS then no doubt you’re getting a profound sense of déjà vu right now, and sure enough David Gelb’s THE LAZARUS EFFECT feels like a total rip-off. This is just another in a long-line of Jason Blum micro budget horror flicks that are designed to quickly cash-in and cash-out of theaters. His movies typically make for effective ninety-second trailers that are enough to fool people into buying a ticket, but stretched out to (barely) feature-length…yikes.

It’s a shame really, as THE LAZARUS EFFECT certainly seemed to have a slicker pedigree than something like OUIJA, with them clearly having spent some effort assembling an attractive cast that’s a cut above the genre norm. Maybe Blum’s indie creds have something to do with it, as while we mostly know him for horror fare Blum has a parallel career as the guy who made movies like THE NORMAL HEART and WHIPLASH happen.

It’s a real shame that THE LAZARUS EFFECT came together so poorly, but it can’t be denied this is an all-out disaster. Everything about it is just cheap and stale. Good actors like Mark Duplass, Donald Glover and Olivia Wilde are left high and dry by a nonsensical script that gives them nothing to do, and production values that are downright embarrassing for a movie that’s primed to go out on 3000 screens. For a team of brilliant scientists, the doctor-couple played by Duplass and Wilde are stunningly foolish, with them early on raising a dog from the dead (I’m aware of how stupid that sounds), and then taking him home as a pet even after he exhibits signs of being dangerously unstable. Once Wilde has her accident, the FLATLINERS-similarities become even stronger, with her having brought something evil back with her due to some childhood sins sending her to a place that’s decidedly hot.

As for Glover, this talented COMMUNITY alum is absolutely stranded, with a subplot about his attraction to Wilde being ditched early on, and him existing as mere gore fodder, despite the fact that of everyone here he’s the only one giving an even slightly charismatic performance. Co-star Evan Peters (of AMERICAN HORROR STORY) embarrasses himself as the requisite stoner (made puzzling by the fact that his e-cig is somehow getting him high – do the cartridges come in weed these days?) who I guess is meant to be funny but it so annoying you hope he’ll be the first one to get knocked off. Even worse is Mark Duplass, who looks downright embarrassed by the inanity of his dialogue (did he owe Blum a favor for financing CREEP?). Olivia Wilde does her best but as she spends most of her running-time possessed, she just walks around look mad and scary, and is never given the chance to actually turn her character into someone you’ll care about.

What’s really puzzling are the production values. Blum’s movies are always cost-effective, but rarely have they seemed quite so cheap, with weak gore effects, and the strange choice to include too many stock audio cues that make the film feel much cheaper than it actually is (Wikipedia states the budget is a decent $5 million).

In the end, THE LAZARUS EFFECT is pretty bad but it’ll be forgotten by audiences so quickly that’s it’s really barely worth reviewing. The only surprise here is that Relativity decided to go theatrical, as it seems far more suited to VOD. Don’t be fooled by the cast, THE LAZARUS EFFECT is just another cheapo-horror flick that’s not worth your time or money. Skip it and watch FLATLINERS instead.

Source: JoBlo.com

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7:30PM on 02/27/2015

it's not a comedy?

mark duplass, childish gambino, and olvia wilde? that could be pretty funny.
mark duplass, childish gambino, and olvia wilde? that could be pretty funny.
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5:57PM on 02/27/2015
Damn. This wasn't even on my radar, but that's a strong trio, and Duplass usually gets me interested in his projects. I like CGambino too, though I haven't seen him in anything serious. He's made some odd career choices since exiting Community
Damn. This wasn't even on my radar, but that's a strong trio, and Duplass usually gets me interested in his projects. I like CGambino too, though I haven't seen him in anything serious. He's made some odd career choices since exiting Community
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5:14PM on 02/27/2015

LMAO!!!

Actually you can use weed oil in those e-cig devices, though it kinda messes them up for the stuff you're supposed to put in it :) don't ask how I know this lol
Actually you can use weed oil in those e-cig devices, though it kinda messes them up for the stuff you're supposed to put in it :) don't ask how I know this lol
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4:46PM on 02/27/2015
Movie looked like absolute trash & one of the most laughable trailers ever & even comparing it to Flatliners is insulting
Movie looked like absolute trash & one of the most laughable trailers ever & even comparing it to Flatliners is insulting
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10:31AM on 02/27/2015
Talk about a missed opportunity. Someone needs to take "possession" movies to the next level.
Talk about a missed opportunity. Someone needs to take "possession" movies to the next level.
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8:44AM on 02/27/2015
The fact that the film is only like 83 minutes long doesn't help either.
The fact that the film is only like 83 minutes long doesn't help either.
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3:30AM on 02/27/2015
May`be on rental if i`ve exhausted every option and it`s cheap Tuesday overnight rentals or better yet just watch Event Horzion again.
" Hell is only a word, in reality it is much much worse."
May`be on rental if i`ve exhausted every option and it`s cheap Tuesday overnight rentals or better yet just watch Event Horzion again.
" Hell is only a word, in reality it is much much worse."
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3:42AM on 02/27/2015
More than a decade later, Event Horizon holds up pretty well and still creepy!
More than a decade later, Event Horizon holds up pretty well and still creepy!
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2:15AM on 02/27/2015
The fact that trailer was release 7 weeks before the movie's theatrical release, tells me the studio didn't give a shit about this lame ass movie.
The fact that trailer was release 7 weeks before the movie's theatrical release, tells me the studio didn't give a shit about this lame ass movie.
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1:53AM on 02/27/2015
I expected 5 but 3/10 is still pretty bad. This movie looks like a straight to DVD movie.
I expected 5 but 3/10 is still pretty bad. This movie looks like a straight to DVD movie.
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