February 28, 2015

The Lazarus Effect (2015)

"A group of medical students discover a way to bring dead patients back to life."

Remember "Flatliners" (1990)? How about "Pet Sematary" (1989)? Yes, of course, you do. So does everyone else, especially Blumhouse Productions. Thus, it comes as no surprise that "The Lazarus Effect" is a quick and dirty remix of the two fondly remembered "millennial generation" movies from the poorer first-half of the 1990s, and seems to be another product designed to grab some easy money by using nothing but predictable formulas and tropes.

Yes, all horror movies are mainly repeated formulas, clich├ęs, and tropes anyway, but Blumhouse have been working on getting this down to a fine art for some time. You have to give them credit for studying the genre and at least trying to create the "perfect" formulaic horror movie, although they do still seem to fail at it more often than not. The better movies which they homage are too recognisable and way too fresh in the minds of the target audience, and that makes these Blumhouse products fairly redundant.

In this case, "The Lazarus Effect" is yet another in a long line of Frankenstein-genre (or "science run amok") movies where Man plays God and things go very wrong. A little bit of pseudo-scientific babble and the old "science versus religion" chestnut get another outing to create depth, but nobody really cares one way or another as long as there are some gimmicky special effects to look at.

Adding Evan Peters who is currently in vogue by being eyecandy for teenage girls in "American Horror Story", and American TV staple Olivia Wilde (who I really only recognise from her movie roles in "Turistas", "In Time", and for wearing a very sexy costume in the horrible "TRON: Legacy"), is another stroke of Blumhouse genius to attract these actors' fanbases to this movie. Knowing how easily pleased some people are, I'm sure that it works too.

For what it is, "The Lazarus Effect" is an okay watch with very good production values, effects, and above average acting. However, despite an effective set-up, the narrative is a bit thin overall, and it obviously plays out like at least two stories mashed together badly because it is.

"The Lazarus Effect" is hardly the worst sci-fi/horror ever, since it does entertain and delivers exactly what it was created to do, so it's hard to find fault there. It even has a decent atmosphere and a couple of attempts at jump scares, but due to being PG-13, it's just not very scary or destined to be memorable.

I don't recommend it.

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