Movie Review: The Lazarus Effect

Movies, books, video games, and sports are nothing to get angry about. It is amazing to me and quite hilarious how seriously people take things that do not matter. Fiction is fiction, made-up, fake, and produced solely for entertainment. There is no reason for anyone to lose their shit over something as insignificant as videogames. Seriously, have you seen what has come out of Gamergate (there was a clue here)? Who mails knives and threatens to rape somebody for having an objective opinion about a fucking toy (it’s gone now)? My point is, nobody should take fiction seriously, and you should not get mad about The Lazarus Effect.

The story follows Zoe, played by Olivia Wilde, and her fiancé Frank, played by Mark Duplass, two scientists working on a serum to restore brain function following death. After a freak accident, Zoe is killed and Frank uses the serum to bring her back. Upon resurrection, if you have seen the trailer, you know exactly what happens next.

Much like Seventh Son, Lazarus is harmless. As a horror movie it is as cookie-cutter as you can get. It has jump-scares, obvious setups to the jump-scares, standard horror characters that are oblivious and stupid, misdirection that creates plot holes, regular plot holes, and a total lack of subtly. It is the most modern horror movie you have already seen. An adolescent child with brain damage could predict what happens.

I will cut to the chase and say if you are going on a date, this is perfect date material. As a positive, Olivia Wilde was a great antagonist, but I would not recommend admission based on her performance alone. If you want so see a similar movie that is not horror, Chronicle is a worthy substitute. Otherwise, there is no reason to see The Lazarus Effect.

I could end it here, but because I have more to say and this review would look better if it was longer, I will go right into analysis mode.

* * *

            The religious themes of this movie are unavoidable. For those of you who do not know, Lazarus was resurrected by Jesus in Christian Mythology, hence the name and purpose of the serum. There is quite a bit of dialog where characters argue about what happens after you die, the difference between science and religion, and the ethics of bringing something back to life. Even the character Zoe is Catholic and the story takes place at Berkley University, a place I have been led to believe is a religious institution, in the most liberal city in California.

That does not make any sense.

The main theme is science can explain religion and the concept of the soul. Zoe going Tetuso on her friends is justified when the group finds out the Lazarus serum increases brain activity, hence the telepathy, telekinesis, and general unstable behavior. Simple enough, right? In terms of sci-fi it makes sense.

But after the characters themselves come to this conclusion, they disregard anything Zoe says as pure delusion and actively try to contain her in their lab. I understand people usually fear what they do not understand, but if you explain something based on fact, how can you not understand it?

Not one time did the cast engage in a regular conversation or listen to what Zoe says. They could have stayed alive if they talked to her and learned what she has gone through after resurrection. Even Frank fails to support Zoe. If Olivia Wilde were my fiancé, I would burn down an entire forest to help her.

There is plenty else wrong with Lazarus, but the main issue is incompetence at every level. The film could have been so much better had the writers transcended horror movie tropes and made something worth consideration. Olivia Wilde was still good, though.

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