Keep the dead, dead. Just a token of advice.
After much time, dedication, and money handed to them through the university they work in, a group of scientists have discovered a serum that brings the dead back to life. At first, they perform it on a blind dog named Rocky who, once he wakes up and comes back to life, can see. However, he’s acting a bit strange. More so than any other normal dog would. But before they can ever do anything to fix Rocky and figure out just what’s going on, the university decides to shut the project down, leaving all of the scientists without hardly any evidence to make up for their thesis and, possibly, even get their experiment taken away from them. Though, they realize that it’s not time to give up, so late one night, they all decide to sneak back into the university and finish their study, once and for all. That is, until tragedy strikes one of the scientists and leaves them dead. Thinking quickly, they try to bring the person back with the serum, seeing as how well it worked for Rocky, until it becomes apparently clear that the serum has some extreme, rather deadly side effects.
Sci-fi horror films like the Lazarus Effect have been around since the early days of film and it’s no shock to anyone that, after awhile, they can get repetitive, forgettable, and downright boring. However, the one interesting element surrounding the Lazarus Effect is that it’s actually stacked with an interesting; a cast who, may I add, don’t seem like the typical chumps to take up material as cheesy and as underwhelming as this.
For instance, you have Mark Duplass, playing our main protagonist, Frank. Duplass is a joy to watch in anything he shows up in, whether it be from random spots on television, movies, or in actual, real-life interviews. The guy just seems like a class-act who was, like you or I, a normal dude who dreamed of one day making movies for everyone to see and love, and wouldn’t you know it? His dream came true.
That said, it’s utterly confusing as to why he would bother to show up in something like this. His performance is a bit on the bland side, but honestly, a part of me wants to believe that’s just because the material is so thin and poorly-written for him, that even someone as talented and as likable as Duplass, find it a near impossibility to bring some sort of fun or charm to this whole piece. Same goes for the rest of the cast who are, sadly, thrown into a movie that doesn’t seem to utilize their talents well enough, except to have them deliver lame, exposition, or, occasionally, show some sort of personality that only works because of the convention their character is.
Another example of this cast gone to waste is Evan Peters, who mostly everyone and their mothers loved as Quicksilver in Days of Future Past, who is basically given the role of “the stoner”. This means that, yes, he does smoke an awful lot of weed (through a vape, I may add), eat a lot of snack-foods (munchies, bro), and, seemingly out of nowhere at times, prove to the rest of his confidantes that he is a smart science guy who knows a thing or two. All we’re supposed to do with this character in this film is laugh at him and hope that he comes around to deliver a punchline, whenever the film seems to need it the most to clear the air and stop everything from being so serious. Problem is, the movie never gives him anything funny.
Not to mention the fact that what serious proceedings he’s supposed to be breaking up with his lovely smile and grin, aren’t really all that exciting to begin with.
Like I’ve said before, everything in the Lazarus Effect has been done before, and while there can sometimes be some fun to be had in knowing what’s coming next and seeing how the characters react to it all, there’s something so dirty and ugly about this movie that makes all of the fun go right out of the window. For instance, the movie flirts with the idea of there being a spirituality vs. actuality battle going on between some of the characters and while the conversations they have can be interesting, the movie takes them to heart so much that when shit hits the fan, it is so extreme and insane, that it seems like there’s hardly anyway for any of the carnage to end. Basically, you just sit back and watch a bunch of people, some you care about, some you don’t, get killed in gruesome, horrific ways and it’s not fun – it’s just gratuitous.
It also feels lazy after awhile, too, because once you realize what’s causing all of these horrific happenings, it becomes clear that the movie doesn’t have anything interesting to do, say, or actually make you think about after leaving it. It’s just pure, unabashed blood, gore, and violence, and it’s rarely exciting to watch. Just dull as dull can be.
The only chances of some hope that the movie gets is whenever it allows for Olivia Wilde, a bright and bubbly screen-presence when she’s given the opportunity to be so, to camp it up. Wilde’s good as is, whenever she’s playing a normal person who wants to figure out a way to save lives and possibly even revive them, but when her character eventually starts to turn the other cheek and you realize that there’s something a tad bit dangerous to her, then that’s when she seems to actually be having fun. In a movie as lame as this, it would be incredibly hard for someone to even have the slightest bit of joy in their stomach while performing, but Wilde, for what it’s worth, seems like she’s giving it her all, even if the movie doesn’t always have her back in the end.
What a shame.
Consensus: Dull, dark, drab, and ugly, the Lazarus Effect takes an interesting concept, cast, and group of ideas, and goes nowhere with them you don’t see coming from a mile away and already don’t care for.
2.5 / 10 = Crapola!!
Photo’s Credit to: Goggle Images