THE LAZARUS EFFECT (2015)
First let's discuss how this movie brought us in. If you're an avid horror fan like myself, when you first see the trailer for this flick, you think "challenge accepted". It's another film you get to personally analyze to see if it can justifiably be deemed "scary". For the general male population, you have been enthralled by Olivia Wilde before, and she's been depicted here as a hot villain, hinting nudity and having those blacked out demon eyes?... Sold. But wait, Olivia Wilde has deceived us with before with the major flop "Cowboys and Aliens", where nudity was only suggestive. Will that foreshadow our general analysis of this potential thriller? Maybe. Now, let's not leave the female intrigue out- which I will not hesitate to say is also Olivia Wilde. Director David Gelb chose wisely with this lead. She's definitely attractive, and her "bad ass" persona (graciously given by her role in "Tron") makes her enviously appealing to the ladies. Women, wether it be consciously or unconsciously, enjoy watching a character they aspire to look like, relate to, or down right envy. And their dates don't give a crap- she's hot. And it looks like she's naked.
So we have "The Lazarus Effect", where researcher Frank (Mark Duplass), a very work-enthused and slightly egocentric scientist, his fiancée Zoe (Wilde), an intelligent though timid scientist, haunted by nightmares of a fire she experienced during her childhood, attempt the impossible- bringing the dead back to life! Along with their team, they have created an elixir, if you will, that revitalizes brain activity. After a would-seem successful attempt with a deceased dog, the crew decides to go public. When the University discovers them, they're materials are taken, and the experiment shuts down. The team reveals a reserve elixir they stashed away separately (how convenient) and decide to sneak into the lab and film the experiment to prove their findings. Unfortunately, our leading lady Zoe gets electrocuted and dies. And Frank isn't having that- so of course he decides to recreate the experiment on his fiancée. Here's where the obligatory "You can't do that." "This is wrong." -all the dialogue relative to "playing God" which we knew were inevitably coming do so.
At this point, I was already disappointed with the outstandingly unoriginal concept. So far it is as though "Flatliners" and "Pet Sematary" spawned a love child. From Blumhouse Productions, which gave us very decent thrillers like "Insidious" and "Sinister", I guess I wanted more.
As you might have guessed, Zoe comes back to life, but comes back pretty screwed up. The elixir has now given her the ability to access more of her brain than humans have ever been able to do (where have we seen that idea, recently?). She has seen hell, and while we internally question "So, why did she go to hell?", we're also realizing what shitty luck was it that the one who dies and comes back JUST HAPPENED to be the one with the horrific childhood building fire. So of course she's messed up. It's the best reason in the world to go ape shit on everyone else. Did I mention they happen to be trapped down in this lab?
For the rest of the film, suffice it to say that the "Flatliners" and "Pet Sematary" love child starts dating the love child of "Event Horizon" and the newer "Lucy". Who dies? And how? Who lives? And why? You'll have to see it to find out.
Ultimately, I just wish I weren't able to predict most of the film. I always give credit where it is due. With the appropriate use of sounds, consistent light issues (which every building in a horror movie seems to have), and sudden screams, the film keeps you on your toes. It gives you the heart-jumping shock without which a horror would not be complete. Those killed are killed creatively, and it does end with a mildly interesting twist. So if you're easily jumpy, and want to be thrilled, see it. If you're looking for something new, wait for it to come out instead of paying. Because sorry gents (*spoiler alert*), no boobs.
reviewed by Corinne