The Lazarus Effect

The Lazarus Effect

In Theatres: 
Feb 27, 2015
Running Time: 
83 minutes

Death is something that is considered permanent, but what if you could reverse the effects and return to the land of the living? What if the person who died isn’t the same one that’s been revived? The Lazarus Effect gives new meaning to the term ‘undead’ and shows why those that die should remain dead for good.


A group of scientists have been working on a serum, codenamed Lazarus, that could potentially bring the dead back to life. After years of developing and testing, head scientists Frank (Mark Duplass) and his fiancée Zoe (Olivia Wilde) finally manage to bring a dog back to life. Their celebrations are short lived, however, as the corporation that has been funding them all these years decides to swoop in a take all their research, including the serum. With the help of fellow scientists Niko (Donald Glover) and Clay (Evan Peters) as well as Eva (Sarah Bolger), a filmmaker documenting their work, they decide to replicate their experiment as proof of the work they did. Unfortunately something goes wrong and Zoe ends up dying on the lab floor. WIth nothing to lose, Frank decides to use the last of the serum on her and bring her back to live. While it’s a success, Zoe is no longer the same person she was before as something far more evil has come back with her from the other side.


I like to think that the people who made The Lazarus Effect went and saw Lucy and said to themselves, “Hey, we should remake this as a horror film.” because that is essentially all it is. The film falls back on the whole “humans only use 10% of their brain” myth only they refer to it as using 100% of the brain, but only 10% at a time. When Zoe returns from the dead, the serum apparently allowed her to use 100% of her brain 100% of the time. This increase in brain power allows her to move objects and hear what others are thinking. Rather than turning into an action hero, Zoe goes mad and starts killing off her scientist friends one by one.


While Lucy was packed full of action, The Lazarus Effect is anything but scary. The film uses cheap and uninventive scare tactics that hardly elicit a scream. It’s a shame, too, because the cast is capable of so much more than what we see. Everyone is underutilized. Great actors are reduced to frightened rats trapped inside a labyrinth, minus Wilde who is the master in charge. She does a decent job at playing the possessed, but is still underutilized by the given source material.


The Lazarus Effect isn’t even necessarily bad; it’s just a boring horror film that follows all the trite tropes associated with the genre. The scares are the least bit scary, and the deaths are hardly innovative. It’s unfortunately nothing but a cheap horror film with cheap thrills looking to earn a quick buck at the box office.

Matt Rodriguez
Review by Matt Rodriguez
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