Playing God – The Lazarus Effect (2015)

I really wish this film was better.  So this is about a research team that has developed a serum that can bring back the dead.  They test it on a dog with success, but what happens next is going to shake the group to its core.  This is another one of these nothing horror films that popped up out of nowhere that I decided to take a chance on a la The Atticus Institute.  I really knew nothing about it other than what genre it falls under, and I was immediately pleasantly surprised with how many (relatively) big names are featured here.  There is Donald Glover, Evan Peters, Olivia Wilde and Mark Duplass, the latter being one of my very favorite comedic actors out there.  I’ve liked all of these actors in previous works, which just makes it all the more disappointing to say that this never comes together in any sort of satisfying manner.

Lazarus -469.cr2Dark contacts get a lot of usage here.

This is a Blumhouse production, so you know this was done on the cheap.  I think there is a total of three locations that they actually use for filming, which isn’t necessarily a problem, as there are tons of bottle films out there that work effectively.  The issue is that this is nothing new covered with this film, and there’s just a ton of cheap jump scares that feel lazy.  I am actually okay with the jump scare, I really am.  But what I can’t stand is the score spike that goes with it.  Say I’m trying to watch this with headphones or earbuds in.  I want to get into the atmospheric scares, and it is okay if I am suddenly alarmed due to a tense situation, I just want to be able to hear the next lines of dialogue without my ear drums being pierced.  As you can probably tell, this is a big pet peeve of mine, and it led to a rather large disconnect with me.

blumThere is pretty much every single possession and psionic trope in the book featured here, and you’ve likely already seen everything this movie has to offer.  It’s almost like the bumper that shows before every Jason Blum movie.

Given that this involves resurrection, a theological debate does come up in the script.  I don’t know if this film is the venue for it, especially given that this has an ending that wouldn’t be out of place in a standard slasher flick.  The “man of science vs. man of faith” discourse is touched on here, which gave me a minor Lost flashback.  I had no expectations on this, but then I got excited when I saw faces that I like.  I really don’t blame any of the actors, they all show up to work; it is just the material that leaves a lot to be desired.

The Lazarus Effect (2015) **

– Critic for Hire


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