"The Lazarus Effect" Succeeds As Mild Horror Yarn


“The Lazarus Effect” is basically “Flatliners” for a new generation. It doesn’t get anywhere near as heavy-handed as Joel Schumacher’s film, but still treads the same waters. Toss in some telekinetic power play ala “Carrie” and a dash of “Frankenstein” and you get a mildly entertaining horror yarn that could’ve and should’ve been better.

In "The Lazarus Effect," Medical researcher Frank (Mark Duplass), his fiancee Zoe (Olivia Wilde) and their team have achieved the impossible: they have found a way to revive the dead. After a successful, but unsanctioned, experiment on a lifeless animal, they are ready to make their work public. However, when their dean learns what they've done, he shuts them down. Zoe is killed during an attempt to recreate the experiment, leading Frank to test the process on her. Zoe is revived -- but something evil is within her.

I must give props to producer Jason Blum for once again finding a way to fit in some type of surveillance and found footage into “The Lazarus Effect.” I’ve moved past the annoyance of the style’s presence in his films and now find myself astonished at how he fits it into EVERY project he works on. The method works for him and he continues to find ways to shoehorn it into his movies.

“The Lazarus Effect” is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of horror violence, terror and some sexual references. What we have here is more of the same content we see in every teen horror film that’s hit theaters since “The Ring.” There’s just enough freaky imagery and gore to stay safe for the junior high and high school kiddies. That’s not to say there’s anything wrong with that, as I’m a firm believer that what you don’t see can be even scarier than what you do.

The DVD version of “The Lazarus Effect” comes with bare bones special features. It contains a featurette entitled “Creating Fear: The Making of ‘The Lazarus Effect’” that goes behind the scenes of the film.

Although it isn’t completely satisfying, I have to give “The Lazarus Effect” props for concealing much of its storyline. The movie goes in a different direction than what you would expect from viewing the trailer. Instead of it being just another possession film, it’s rooted in science fiction and doesn’t heavily rely on religious themes. That’s not to say that they don’t touch on the subject through their discussions about life after death and where the test subject went after dying.

"The Lazarus Effect" is available now on Blu-ray, DVD, and as a Digital Download.