The Lazarus Effect is a Flatliners ripoff unworthy of resuscitation

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ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, FEB. 25, 2015

By Steve Newton

The Lazarus Effect reminds me a bit of that made-in-Vancouver horror flick Hideaway, in which characters that are brought back to life after being clinically dead for a while encounter weird sensations and frightening visions.

It also sucks about as much.

The latest low-budget offering from Blumhouse Productions (The Purge, Insidious, Sinister) involves a team of medical students who’ve developed a serum that they hope will give folks a second shot at life. After failing to resuscitate a dead pig in the opening credits, the group—led by Frank (Mark Duplass) and his fiancée, Zoe (Olivia Wilde)—move on to a dead dog, which does come back to life, although with an unwanted attitude adjustment. “What if we ripped him out of doggie heaven?” ponders one researcher. “This thing could go Cujo here in a hurry,” notes another.

When word of the team’s unsanctioned activities gets leaked to their university’s dean, she berates them for “playing God with a bunch of dead animals”. The experiment gets shut down and all its materials confiscated—except for one backup batch of the serum. That comes in handy when Zoe gets electrocuted and the heartbroken Frank demands that they use it to try to revive her.

Upon waking from the Big Sleep, Zoe is able to finish her coworkers’ sentences and overhear their whispered conversations, but these strange abilities have come at a price. Before you can say “Flatliners”, she suffers nightmarish visions of the most traumatic day of her life. Could she have briefly visited hell and brought a taste of it back with her?

Apparently so, because soon after her eyeballs turn pitch-black and she starts going all Carrie on everyone’s asses.

“This is too much weird shit!” declares one victim-to-be, as if he were writing this review instead of me. But what do you expect from a script banged out by one guy whose previous credits include the godawful Shutter and another whose previous credits consist of nothing at all?

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