The Lazarus Effect failed to resurrect my dead brain cells. Rarely in supernatural horrors films are scientists depicted to be, y’know, smart. Common sense is often thrown out the laboratory to make space for convenient irritating jump scares or mind-numbing hand holding of the narrative. These medical researchers, whom have developed a serum (code-named “Lazarus”) that brings the dead back to life, exercise that precise stupidity. For the uninitiated, or those not adorned to religious text, Lazarus of Bethany was a prominent miracle for Jesus as he restored him life four days after being declared deceased, exemplifying Jesus’ power over death.
To Dawson and Slater’s credit, the screenplay writers, they did touch upon the ethical/morality debate between the controversial pharmaceutical discovery and religious upbringing for a total of one minute. Having said that, only one prominent question loomed over this snooze-worthy “horror”: why? Just, why? These researchers, whom happen to be a romantic couple, clearly have some level of intellectual stability. They *should* know, deep down, that mortality is inescapable and chaos would ensue if a serum such as this one was made available. Apparently not.
They trial it on a recently deceased dog. One jump scare later, it loudly “woofs”. Sweet baby Jesus, this slobbering canine beast is alive again! Oh no wait, it’s behaving strangely. Unusual new synapses are rapidly developing within the dog’s brain. Something is clearly wrong, considering its fluctuating aggression as it teases humans into wanting to rip out their tracheas. They all acknowledge this, so instead of putting the dog down again, they keep it? They seriously decide to keep the abnormal dog, for science. That’s the least of this group’s worries though, consisting of two amateur scientists and a recently recruited videographer. Zoe, the fiancée to Frank, suddenly becomes electrocuted in a freak accident and dies. You know where this is going...! Yes, they decide to bring her back, knowing full well what it did to the dog. “It’ll work this time”, shouts saddened Frank.
Essentially, Zoe goes full ‘Lucy’, gradually accessing more of her brain’s capacity at any one time. Superhuman powers start to develop including telekinesis and telepathy. Blackened veins spew out of her pitch black demonic eyes. Clearly, this isn’t Zoe anymore. Well, try telling that to her stupid husband-to-be. The one thing that frustrates me, that being unintelligent behaviour from supposedly smart individuals, is the most obvious criticism staring you in the face when watching this drivel. Thinly written disposable characters walking around a laboratory waiting to be slaughtered in a cheap and boring way. Loud unintelligible noises, including a pig for whatever reason, attempting to scare audiences. A waste of a perfectly talented cast consisting of Wilde, whom gave a suitably chilling performance if it weren’t for the poor directorial scares, Duplass, Glover and Peters. Probably the only positive outcomes of this feature. That and the slight glimmers of intriguing philosophical concepts.
Yet reducing The Lazarus Effect to a derivative mass-produced low-budget snooze-fest, which recycled the same old plot points from every other forgettable modern horror, was enough to put me down and never want to see life again. Oh, and what happened to the dog? Is it still lurking the laboratory after that terrible ending? Probably...who cares...