A group of scientists invent a serum that brings the dead back to life.
Like many D-list celebrities who resort to appearing on Celebrity Big Brother to jolt their careers back to life The Lazarus Effect attempts to bring the dead back from the beyond though, unlike Celebrity Big Brother, it has far more success but with grim consequences.
Here a small group of scientists, led by Mark Duplass working in a privately-funded college lab, develop a serum that brings the dead back to life. Having tried it out on a dead dog successfully and woefully ignoring the fact that the dog clearly isn’t quite right they decide to do it all again. It all ends disastrously and in one case terminally as one of them throws the theatrically over large electricity switch only to electrocute herself to death. This could all have been explained away to the college heads if they hadn’t sneaked back into the lab having been vanquished from working any further on the serum after the company that funded their work has seized all their research notes, computers etc.
In typical stick-it-to-the-man attitude they decide to go the extra mile and try out their wonder serum on their newly deceased colleague. What could possibly go wrong? Everything, obviously. With the serum inevitably working, the newly revived Zoe (Olivia Wilde) continues where the dog left off acting even more oddly and having visions. Perhaps most disturbing of all she finds her eyes go all black (surely a cue for a ‘should have gone to Specsavers’ advert) and develops psychic powers to the detriment of her colleagues. Cue carnage as she offs each of her colleagues in a relentlessly grim manner.
The demographic for these films is very much the teen market so typically the scientists never seem to be crusty old, balding professor types with decades of research behind them but rather perky 20 somethings with a genius for life changing breakthroughs that have eluded the greatest medical minds in the world which detracts from any reality the script might aspire to. If anything the most intriguing aspect of the script is the brief conflict between the two leads over a Science vs Religion view of the afterlife. Otherwise this is run of the mill stuff with a very rushed ending and a denouement which is not particularly thrilling though optimistically sets up a sequel which is unlikely to be green lit if this is anything to go by.
Essentially it’s a reworking of the Frankenstein story and whilst not great it’s not bad either and is probably best suited as a double bill with something like the late Wes Craven’s, ‘Shocker ‘.
Words: Simon Hooper (@anygoodfilms?)