Director: David Gelb
Cast: Olivia Wilde, Mark Duplass, Donald Glover, Evan Peters, Sarah Bolger, Ray Wise
Runtime: 1 hr 23 mins
Rating: PG13 (Horror)
Released By: Golden Village Pictures
Official Website: https://www.facebook.com/thelazaruseffect
Opening Day: 26 March 2015
Synopsis: A group of medical students discover a way to bring dead patients back to life. However, terrible consequences ensue when one of their own dies in an accident, and she becomes their first human subject…
When was the last one you told yourself, “Damn, that’s a really good horror movie!”? The horror genre is a peculiar one. People often diss such movies, using descriptions like “tired’, “contrived”, “predictable” and “uninspired”. But filmmakers continue to churn out one horror movie after another. The reason is simple – people are still flocking to the theatres to be startled by supernatural beings, ghouls and monsters. And that spells M-O-N-E-Y. How do the marketing folks attract cinema goers to fork out money to watch this on the big screens then? By referencing past “success stories”, of course.
The trailer for this horror flick (watch it above) spells out the words “From the producer of The Purge, Paranormal Activity and Insidious”, sending you the message that like the noteworthy titles mentioned, this is one scary movie worth catching. Not that this reviewer wants to be a spoilsport, but the 83 minutes do feel like a drag to sit through.
The plot shows some promise though – a group of researchers led by Mark Duplass’ Frank and his fiancée Zoe (Olivia Wilde) have achieved the unimaginable of bringing the dead back to life. As all researches go, the trial was on an animal. The successful attempt to revive a newly deceased animal inspires the team to unveil their breakthrough to the world. The underground experiments soon go haywire, bringing along with them one nightmare after another.
First time feature director David Gelb must be given credit to tackle this premise, but he takes things too seriously and ends up with another disposable movie that gives horror fans nothing they haven’t seen elsewhere. Self righteous dialogue? Check. Loud sound effects? Check. Jump scares? Check.
One can’t help but feel that Blumhouse Productions, the American movie production company that has given the world low budget but commercially successful movies like The Bay (2012), Dark Skies and The Boy Next Door (2015) is repeating the formula, with a resulting piece of work that is devoid of any personality.
If one has to find other aspects to give points to this movie, the cast does a decent job portraying their characters. Duplass (Cyrus, Jeff Who Lives at Home), a director himself, is likable as the team’s leader. His on screen charisma with Wilde (Tron: Legacy, Cowboys & Aliens) is an interestingly comfortable pairing, with the female lead in charge of most of the scares (the blood red poster is already a good sign of what’s coming). Elsewhere, they are supported by the younger cast Sarah Bolger (The Spiderwick Chronicles), Evan Peters (X-Men: Days of Future Past’s Quicksilver minus the cool factor), Donald Glover (Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day), as well as a suitably creepy Amy Aquino (In Good Company).
When the film credits roll, you will be wondering why you made the decision to watch “yet another” horror flick. But hey, were you seriously expecting fine art here? When Blumhouse Productions’ Insidious: Chapter 3, Sinister 2 and Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension are released in theatres later this year, you may probably be catching them as well, fully knowing they are convenient rehashes of past horror flicks.
(Nope, nothing new to offer for fans of the horror genre here)
Review by John Li