Sunday, November 01, 2015

Movie Review - The Lazarus Effect

The Lazarus Effect (2015)
Starring Mark Duplass, Olivia Wilde, Donald Glover, Evan Peters, and Sarah Bolger
Directed by David Gelb
***This film is currently streaming on Netflix***

If you've seen the Scarlett Johansson flick Lucy, there's certainly no reason to watch The Lazarus Effect which is essentially a horror version of that film.  If you haven't seen Lucy (and really you're missing nothing if you haven't), there's still no reason to watch The Lazarus Effect because besides an ending that perks up the thrill quotient after a decidedly bland and surprisingly boring first hour, the conclusion fails to really make a whole lot of sense and ends things hugely disappointingly.

Here, a group of scientists headed by engaged couple Frank and Zoe (Mark Duplass and Olivia Wilde) create a manipulated serum of cells that through injection and electrical stimulation have the effect of being able to bring the dead back to life.  After years of unsuccessful attempts, the team succeeds in bringing back to life a dog, but they discover that the newly resuscitated canine is utilizing huge portions of his brain, making him overly aggressive and violent as he's unable to control his emotions.  Needless to say, following an unfortunate accident, the team doesn't just stop the experiment with the dog and instead find themselves using it for more a more advanced carbon-based life form which may yield some truly frightening results.

The overarching question of this film (and Lucy for that matter) is what happens when humans -- who typically use only 10% of their brain capacity -- are given the opportunity to utilize much more than that.  Whereas Lucy somewhat succeeds in answering this question through the format of an action film, The Lazarus Effect as a horror movie isn't nearly as successful.  The biggest reason for this is that it's utterly boring for the film's first sixty minutes.  Part of the reason I was intrigued with the flick was the cast who I thought may elevate this beyond your typical cliché-ridden genre pic, but the quintet listed up above just sputters out scientific mumbo-jumbo for the film's first twenty minutes and then spends the rest of the first hour debating whether to continue with their now successful experiment.  In a better film, the tension between the scientists may have been intriguing, but here it amounts to nothing but absolute boredom.

Unfortunately, when the film delves into horror during its final twenty minutes (although its eighty minute runtime should seem short, it feels interminable), it's more laughable than anything else and that's never a good thing.  There are no scares whatsoever with the film throwing out one horror cliché after another trying to get something to land successfully.  Nothing does.

The RyMickey Rating:  D-

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