16 September 2015

THE LAZARUS EFFECT

THE LAZARUS EFFECT

Working Title:
Reawakening

USA, 2015
Director: David Gelb

7/10








This is another one of those mainstream horror movies that everybody seems to hate, except me (like "The Last Exorcism 2" or the "Don't Be Afraid of the Dark" remake). I actually expected it to suck, but I ended up having a great time with "The Lazarus Effect", the feature debut of documentary filmmaker David Gelb ("Jiro Dreams of Sushi"). It didn't do much fuzz at the box office (only about $10 million in North America) and the critics pretty much bashed it to pieces (14% at RT), but... well, little Maynard totally dug it.

Okay, it's far, far, far from being original. The basic storyline is pretty much a demented mix of "Flatliners" and "Lucy", focusing on a group of medical students who create a serum called "Lazarus" that is supposed to bring the dead back to life. They eventually succeed by reanimating a dead woman. What the don't know: the serum has a tremendous effect on the brain, causing it to evolve very, very rapidly - and soon the woman starts to act as if she's Scarlett Johansson, but possessed by the ghost of "Carrie"...


But there's more: the first 20 minutes feel like someone buried "Cujo" on the "Pet Sematary". Large parts of the movie have a total "Errors of the Human Body" feel to it. There's some spooky-girl-in-the-hallway madness straight outta "The Shining", a girl having "The Eye"-like visions. There's some "Chronicle", and some "The Sender". Some "Event Horizon", and some "Frankenstein". You know what? If the movie would have been bad, I would have tore it to shreds for all this copycatism - but it isn't bad, because director Gelb put all these influences and elements carefully together and created a worthwhile little shocker that is also very well paced and totally flies by (only 83 minutes long).

There's lots of gripping suspense and many, many really tense scenes. The few jump scares are well-developed and don't feel cheap or anything. Love how the movie constantly seems to go into another directions without losing focus on its basic plot. The screenplay isn't exactly perfect and the last third suffer from a few all too common horror clich├ęs, but due to a few neat twists and an excellent open ending, "The Lazarus Effect" never becomes the shitfest it could have been if done by a bunch of morons.


Acting-wise, everybody gives a neat performance (stand-outs: the gorgeous Olivia "Quorra" Wilde and the amusing Jesse-Eisenberg-look-a-like Evan Peters). Camera, music and editing are all very decent, there's a couple of very neat death scenes (crushed by a metal locker, death by e-cigarette...), and even though he's only in for one scene, it's always nice to good ol' Ray Wise pop up. It's a shame that this wasn't exactly a success. I would love to see
a "Lazarus Effect 2"... *sigh*

1 comment:

  1. Sounds fun - if it turns up on one of my streaming services I'd check it out.

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