THE LAZARUS EFFECT
MOVIE: ***1/2 (out of 5)
BLU-RAY EXPERIENCE: ** (out of 5)
Mark Duplass as FRANK
Olivia Wilde as ZOE
Sarah Bolger as EVA
Evan Peters as CLAY
Donald Glover as NIKO
Directed by: David Gelb
BY KEVIN CARR
Horror films that come out early in the year have the potential to be quite terrible, so it’s a bit of a crap shoot whether you’ll get a good one. For me, I found a pleasant surprise with “The Lazarus Effect.” In a release window normally reserved for found footage nonsense, “The Lazarus Effect” was not the most original film I’d seen, but it was certainly entertaining.
Now available on Blu-ray, “The Lazarus Effect” can make its home in your collection, featuring a slate of television actors (including Olivia Wilde, Mark Duplass and Donald Glover) as science students trying to develop a serum that will revive people from death. When one of the students accidentally is killed in an experiment, the others give her the serum to bring her back to life. What could possibly go wrong?
Fortunately for the story, a lot does go wrong, and the students are faced with scary and dangerous ramifications from resurrecting their colleague and friend.
I’ve always loved stories in which people are trying to better mankind in a lab and end up having the project go totally awry. These are somewhat cliche, going back to old B-movies in the 50s and even some “Twilight Zone” episodes, but they rarely fail to entertain me. This type of story is just too fun to dismiss for me.
Add to the fact that the cast is generally likeable and comfortable with each other. It’s nice to see Duplass and Glover stretch outside of their comedy wheelhouse, and Olivia Wilde has enough presence to hold her own against them. In fact, she’s really the center of attention in this movie, and her role isn’t just a throwaway character.
The fact that this movie was not a found footage one (even though it easily could have been, considering part of the set-up is that there is a filmmaker documenting the experiments) is a step in a wonderful direction, that is to say away from the overwrought and gimmicky found footage marketplace.
Sure, this is essentially PG-13 horror, and a lot of the things that are meant to be scary amount to nothing more than loud noises and flickering shadows, but it works for what it is. I’d put “The Lazarus Effect” up against some of the other major PG-13 horror movies that have been coming out lately, like “Ouija” and “Poltergeist.”
The Blu-ray comes with Digital HD download capabilities. In terms of bonus features, there are about four minutes of deleted scenes as well as the theatrical trailer.
There are two featurettes also available. “Creating fear: The Making of The Lazarus Effect” is a 15-minute behind-the-scenes look at the filmmaking process, more from a story and acting perspective, but also giving some insight into the special effects and production design. There’s also the 8-minute “Playing God: The Moral Dilemma” which examines the spiritual perspective of bringing a person back to life, including interviews with clergy and spiritualists.