Reed Alexander's Horror Review of 'The Lazarus Effect' (2015)
Donald Glover is awesome in everything.
This movie wanted to be Reanimator and Flatliners all at the same time. It's not that the premise doesn't work, it just gets messy and leads to a sloppy ending. What I'm saying is this could have been done right. I'm not sure how, but what I do know is the premise is solid, however, the movie fell flat.
So let's look at what was right about it and see if we can figure out why this movie kinda sucked. The cast was amazing: Olivia Wilde, Evan Peters, Donald fucking Glover. DAMNIT GLOVER, YOU CAN'T BE AMAZING IN EVERYTHING YOU DO! IT'S NOT FAIR TO EVERYONE ELSE! The acting was great, needless to say. The atmosphere was dark and clinical, and even a little bit of a throwback to Frankenstein. And again, the premise was solid. The two concepts meshed very well.
The concept that bringing dead stuff back to life invites evil isn't a new one. Everything from Frankenstein's monster to zombies has carried that theme. If you remember Reanimator, the dead just come back evil and twisted. In Flatliners, you bring something evil back with you. So how do you marry the concept of coming back evil and bringing evil back with you? Doesn't the idea seem redundant?
I don't fucking know... the movie bothered me on too many levels. I can't recommend it.
Black guy dies first?!?! WHAT THE FUCK, YOU SHITTY REANIMATOR-KNOCKOFF! How the fuck are you going to kill off Donald Glover first? Jesus fucking Christ, a black man really can't survive a horror movie unless they're LL Cool J. And here's what kinda doesn't make sense about that. Alright, we all know someone has to die so the reanimation serum gets used on a human. We all know it has to be Olivia's character because it has to be the central love interest of the other main character, because if it was the camera girl, let's face it, they'd just let her die. Now, it was established early in the movie that Glover's character had a thing for Olivia and that they're old friends. It was also established that her fiancee is more interested in his work than getting married. We know that Olivia's character realizes that she has the ability to read minds early, and we know that she literally hears her fiancee think about dissecting her. So why the FUCK does she kill Glover first? I'd easily buy her killing the camera girl or Evan's character.
But I digress, here's where the movie's premise just kind of doesn't work right. So, like Flatliners, you find out that Olivia's character basically went to hell. Why? Because of something she did as a little kid. First of all, what the fuck kind of old testament bullshit is that? "Oops, you fucked up when you were eight, you're going ta hell." Second, if we accept the idea that something a kid did when she was eight condemned her to hell, and as an adult she came back from that with any kind of supernatural power, don't you think she might be more interested in staying out of hell? Instead she goes on a killing spree. This is where the concept of Reanimator comes in, that bringing people back from the dead makes them inherently evil. But if we established that she's not inherently evil, and that she's just tormented by her fear of hell, then what exactly are we trying to establish?
The reanimation serum basically gives you psyonic powers after bringing you back from the dead. If you were brought back from hell, would you really choose to use those power to effectively go right back?
And the ending was pretty lame. The camera girl effectively gives Olivia's character a kind of exorcism by entering her hell and helping her find forgiveness for her actions as a child. But wait, twist ending, and say it with me now, in our best Morbo impression: "THERE WERE NO SURVIVORS!" Because, some-fucking-how, after the camera girl kills Olivia's character, it was all just a hallucination and the camera girl get's her neck snapped. Excuse me, what? It's like Event Horizon, where at the end the rescue squad saves everyone, but one of them pulls back his mask and it's Sam Neill. It just doesn't work here.
This movie just didn't impress me.