ByBarley Guy, writer at
20 something, horror loving, left leaning feminist. Horror reviews:
Barley Guy

Well, it was my first excursion out to the movie theaters of 2015, and I was pretty excited to go out and see something I didn’t know anything about. So, let’s have a chat about The Lazarus Effect :

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

Well, that’s awfully concise isn’t it? Which is something it definitely doesn’t share with the movie. The script, this time written by Luke Dawson and Jeremy Slater. Collectively, the two of them have written the horrible remake of Shutter and the upcoming Fantastic Four film. On top of this, we have director David Gelb, who brought us the insanely popular Jiro Dreams of Sushi. Together this threesome have created one of the most incomprehensible messes of 2015.

First, I’ll go positive, this movie has a huge number of actors that I really enjoy, playing characters that I so deeply wanted to like. Included in the cast are Mark Duplass (The League), Donald Glover (Community), Evan Peters (American Horror Story) and Olivia Wilde (Rush). So many people in it that I like, and honestly they don’t even deliver bad performances, they did a perfectly reasonable job in their roles.

The problem is, their characters and the story were both just disasters. Each character feels pretty one dimensional, and listening to them spout the pseudo science gibberish about the Lazarus Project was pretty hard to take. Especially seeing Peters come to an epiphany that fundamentally changes the experiment while he’s stoned. It was all goofy nonsense, and it really started to feel a lot like these actors were all just getting a check. That isn’t something that I take issue with either, actors are doing a job, but when you put likable (and typically comedic) actors into a movie they don’t really believe in, the result is… well, this. Shallow performances, and pretty nothing character development.

As for the story, the story is full of nonsense and gibberish, and as a result the whole thing falls apart when you start asking questions. On top of a borderline incomprehensible story, the movie is filled right up with horrendously telegraphed jump scares, and of course the jumpscares that occur for no reason at all, such as Olivia Wilde falling down from the ceiling and screaming in the face of the last remaining character.

Add on top of that some weirdly antiquated looking special effects, and the fact that the movie can’t seem to decide if Olivia’s character is possessed, or psychic, or what point it was trying to make. There was a relatively interesting reveal in the end, but it comes way too late in the game and felt really unearned.

All in all, this movie is really just a huge fucking mess. My first reaction to this was that I’ve never liked so many people in such a terrible movie. It really felt like the writers tried to shove as much horror cliche into one movie, and with it’s running time of only 82 minutes, it results in this bloated disaster. It essentially combines elements of Hollowman, Carrie and Pet Semetary into a movie that is worse than all three. Yes, it’s even worse than Hollowman.

What a shame.




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