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The Lazarus Effect (2015)

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Ratings: 5.5/10 from 1,022 users   Metascore: 33/100
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A group of medical students discover a way to bring dead patients back to life.


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In 27 theaters near Ashburn VA US [change]

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Complete credited cast:
Security Guard
Security Guard Terrence
President Dalley
Burned Figure
Cato ...
Rocky the Dog
Firefighter (uncredited)
Fireman (uncredited)
Scott L. Treger ...
Living Cadaver (uncredited)


THE LAZARUS EFFECT follows a group of researchers led by Frank and his fiancé Zoe who've achieved the unimaginable - bringing the dead back to life. After a successful, yet unsanctioned, trial on a newly deceased animal, the team is ready to unveil their breakthrough to the world. When the dean of their university learns of their underground experiments, their project is unexpectedly shut down and their materials confiscated. Frank, Zoe and their team take matters into their own hands, launching a rogue attempt to recreate their experiment, during which things go terribly wrong and one of their own, Zoe, is horrifically killed. Fueled by terror and grief, Frank pushes them to do the unthinkable: attempt to resurrect their first human test subject. Initially, the procedure appears a success, but the team soon realizes something is wrong with Zoe. As her strange new persona reveals itself, the team quickly becomes stuck in a gruesome reality. They are no longer faced with the question ... Written by Relativity

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Evil will rise


Horror | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of horror violence, terror and some sexual references | See all certifications »

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Official Sites:



Release Date:

27 February 2015 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Reawakening  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$10,600,000 (USA) (27 February 2015)


$10,600,000 (USA) (27 February 2015)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


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Did You Know?


Olivia Wilde also starred in the medical drama House, M.D. She played Remy "thirteen" Hadley. Tt revolved around a group of doctors solving problems, such as the plot of this movie. See more »


Just after Niko (Donald Glover) is killed, and everyone else is in the same room, Clay (Evan Peters) and Frank (Mark Duplass) get in a verbal argument about using the phone. In the sequence, you can see the blanket worn by Zoe (Olivia Wilde) change positions from two very different takes and stitched together to make this one scene. See more »


Spoofs Frankenstein (1931) See more »

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User Reviews

The closest we'll get to the forgotten genre of the b-movie for a while
1 March 2015 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

One criminally forgotten and undernourished genre in contemporary cinema is the Hollywood B-movie. Shortly at the turn of the 1990's, Hollywood seemed to abandon ideas for low-budget, cheesy horror films and set their sights more on the foundations of a lot of romantic comedies and raunchy comedies in general. In the 2000's, Hollywood realized they could make an immense return if they focused on big-budget blockbusters and cater to fans of comic books who, themselves, had felt undernourished in decades past. The b-movie, or the low-budget, ridiculous horror movie, has been almost entirely wiped away, and fans of the genre need to suffer through many a bad direct-to-DVD film in order to find a diamond in the rough.

David Gelb's "Lazarus Effect" reminds me of such a genre-film, and while it bears a great deal of issues, stemming from unoriginality to some pretty poor decisions made by some "brilliant" scientists and field-workers, it's nonetheless something marginally refreshing during this time of year. We focus on a gaggle of medical professionals, headed by Frank (Mark Duplass) and Zoe (Olivia Wilde), who have created a special serum that effectively brings dead patients back to life. Code-named "Lazarus," the serum has had success on several different animals, particularly a dog, and the remainder of the gang - the tech-savvy Niko (Donald Glover), the smart-ass Clay (Evan Peters), and Eva (Sarah Bolger), the documentarian filming the entire process - exercises potential ways to bring the serum to a more mainstream level.

However, when Zoe dies from electrocution while working in the lab, following the government seizing the rights and the work permits of the group of scientists, Frank is determined to use the serum and bring her back to life. Despite the serum working effectively, Zoe begins to exhibit strange, demonic behavior, putting the remainder of the group in danger as they now all question the abilities of the serum they are working with.

"The Lazarus Effect" distracts quite well, in the way that its performers help to disguise the depressingly generic script and plot-structure at hand. At the film's core, we have the superb actor, writer, and director Mark Duplass, who puts on a good show by himself, even if he working in a middling production, every time, and Olivia Wilde, who has enough charisma and character wit to carry herself through quite well in addition. For a supporting cast, we have Glover, Peters, and Bolger, all of whom have been capable in other projects, and convey their personalities quite well, even if they feel stripped down to the bare-basics of character development. Nonetheless, despite the shallow writing of Luke Dawson and Jeremy Slater, each performer finds ways to carry themselves quite well thanks to their own professionalism.

The horror elements of "The Lazarus Effect" are more-or-less neutered, as this is a PG-13 production and the features those traditionally bring, unfortunately, go without saying. This is one of the first horror films in a while where the atmosphere, the scares, and the sense of dread were the last things on my mind. The character interactions in the film and the way the scientists would operate to try and perfect their serum was more intriguing and fun to witness than anything Gelb, Dawson, and Slater were trying to cook up.

On that note, "The Lazarus Effect" almost works as a lukewarm medical drama, with horror elements sprinkled in to prevent a sense of monotony. As a whole, it's not very memorable, nor does it bear anything specific to its story or its structure. Yet, the cast of characters on display here are entirely capable, and prove that with one of the most interchangeable scripts around. Duplass and Wilde manage to strike good up solid chemistry, despite this film only being about seventy-nine minutes and Wilde's character's transformation coming about a third of the way through, the two performers make it work given their little time and ability to maneuver around the film's predetermined structure.

Just three years ago, Gelb directed a charming, amiable documentary about an elderly sushi chef and his pursuit of the perfect sushi and the perfect sushi restaurant. It was "Jiro Dreams of Sushi," and one of my favorite documentaries of 2012. What inspired Gelb to do a complete three-sixty and dive into this kind of basic filmmaking is beyond me, but "The Lazarus Effect," while decent in one particular aspect, falters enough in others to make one want to forewarn Gelb what he is getting into and what he's sacrificing.

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