‘The Lazarus Effect’ reanimates a dull idea

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Frank (Mark Duplass) and Zoe (Olivia Wilde) star in 'The Lazarus Effect.' Photo Credit: MCT Campus

Joyce Melendez, Staff Writer

‘The Lazarus Effect,’ directed by David Gelb, is a supernatural horror film that focuses on the concept of reanimation. Mark Duplass and Olivia Wilde star as Frank Walton and Zoe McConnell, who are medical researchers. Their research is initially intended to assist coma patients but the “Lazarus” serum has the ability to bring the dead back to life.

The idea of reanimation has been around for centuries. From Mary Shelley’s ‘Frankenstein’ to Stephen King’s ‘Pet Sematary.’ The idea has had various incarnations. It is safe to assume that the worst is going to happen when things are brought back to life.

Because the basic plot is unoriginal, moviegoers will have to depend heavily on the execution of the film in order to make a connection. At times it was difficult to view what was going on in a scene due to the camera techniques. The opening of the film was captured through the perspective of a surveillance camera which does not clearly depict what is going on due to the poor quality. Luckily, it does not last for long and scenes are easier to comprehend.

Like most horror films, it seemed that there were times when cheap scares were used and the music intensified, other than that, the film did not do a good job with engaging the audience. A majority of the film occurred in one location which may have hindered the growth and development of the storyline. Not much can be accomplished when there is a strong emphasis on the negative outcome of reanimation. Therefore, the movie became duller as time passed.

Of course, a staple of horror films is dark settings which is an effective strategy of scaring moviegoers when there is actually something interesting going on. Actors using flashlights to maneuver around leaves the audience wanting more in regards to be able to view the entirety of a space rather than certain sections.

The negative effects of the reanimation manifest themselves in a manner that draws similarity to Luc Besson’s film ‘Lucy,’ which also takes away from the interest of the film. Rather than trying to establish a solid and interesting storyline, it relies on scare tactics that may be effective on younger audience members.

While the movie is not a must-see, credit should be given to the actors. The film also stars Evan Peters, Donald Glover, and Sarah Bolger who portray Clay, Niko, and Eva who are important characters that become entangled in the conflict. Their performances were believable but it could have been enhanced with a stronger, more original idea.