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
A group of scientist discover a formula that could help bring the dead back to life. The main scientist Frank (Mark Duplass) and his fiancé (Olivia Wilde) mess up when signing their contract and end up getting kicked out of the laboratory. Needing to get enough of their records to carry on, the group sneak back into the lab but after an accident Frank's fiancé is killed. They decide to use the formula to bring her back to life but things don't go as planned.
THE LAZARUS EFFECT has a few interesting ideas and some great performances, which keep it from being a complete trainwreck but there's no question that the film doesn't take its subject serious enough to have the film work. There's no question that there are elements of FLATLINERS here but people will also be thinking of LUCY, which was released the previous year as this film.
It should be noted that without the end credits this movie runs just 76 minutes, which is extremely short in today's time. I personally love shorter movies but this one here is just so uneven that the film pretty much ends just as you feel it should be taking off. I say that because there are some interesting ideas about Heaven and Hell here but sadly very few of them are fully explored because once the fiancé is brought back to life the film turns into a rather generic horror movie. I'm not sure why the screenplay would introduce such good idea but then not do anything with them and especially since the film is so short and could have been expanded on.
The performances in the film is what save it and help carry the material. Both Duplass and Wilde are very good and especially believable in their roles. Supporting players Sarah Bolger, Evan Peters and Donald Glover are also very good. Technically speaking the film features a nice score, good cinematography and the director certainly makes a professional looking film. With that said, THE LAZARUS EFFECT completely falls apart during the final fifteen minutes, which is a real shame.
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