Friday, April 13, 2018

Movie Review: The Lazarus Effect (2015)

The Lazarus Effect (2015) directed by David Gelb

A team of university scientists (two researchers (Olivia Wilde and Mark Duplass) and two students (Donald Glover and Evan Peters)) started a grant-funded project to help coma patients live longer so that they can be cured. The experiments have evolved into bringing recently deceased animals back to life. After some marginal success with a pig and a dog, the university administration finds out causing problems. A company buys the grant and tries to take possession of all the research as their own property. Naturally this situation doesn't sit well with the researchers, who want credit and a credible success. They break into the lab to try and revive one more animal. Being a horror film, things don't work out according to plan.

The premise is fairly interesting and the characters acknowledge that deeper issues could and ought to be explored. If the dog died, did it come back from doggie heaven and that's why it's acting so weird? Shouldn't these issues be figured out before more experiments are attempted? What about a human afterlife? What are the consequences of bring people back from death? All these issues are nodded at and then ignored. The movie quickly turns into a monster hunting down the humans one by one. That's executed competently, but after the promise of delving into deeper issues, I found it disappointing.

The movie provides a lot of jump scares, some of which feel cheap. The overall horror starts slow and builds up to a frantic pace. I just wish the ideas kept up with thrills rather than being jettisoned for the thrills. The movie becomes totally and uninterestingly conventional in the last third.

If you hate disappointing or pessimistic endings, stay away. Otherwise, this is a low-end B-movie that can be enjoyable with the right expectations.

Not recommended.

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