The Lazarus Effect (2015) Review

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From Blumhouse Productions, the movie company that brought you Paranormal Activity, Insidious and The Purge, comes The Lazarus Effect, a resurrection horror film directed by David Gelb (Jiro Dreams of Sushi) and stars Mark Duplass, Olivia Wilde, Evan Peters, Donald Glover and Sarah Bolger. Having such a back catalog of scary movies, The Lazarus Effect has some big shoes to fill. Could this be the horror film that breaks the streak of bad horror movies that Hollywood’s been churning out as of late?


The idea of bringing something or someone back from the dead is never a good idea. It breaks ethical morals and crosses the line between science and religion. This is exactly what The Lazarus Effect is about.  We have four doctors that are creating this serum called the “Lazarus Effect”, which is capable of bringing people back from a coma. The project takes more than three years to complete and when it finally does get done, the doctors lose track on what their sole purpose of the project was.  They’re now trying to reanimate life back into dead things. After a long haul, they successfully got the serum to work, but of course there are complications. Their first guinea pig for the serum is a dog. The dog now exhibits different behaviors – a more aggressive side is present. Later in the movie, one of the doctors gets shocked and dies instantly. With a serum that could bring the dead back to life, they think it’s a good idea to play God and resurrect the dead. With this brings trouble.  They soon realize that it’s too late when the doctors face a bigger problem at hand – someone else is in their friend’s body. She has the ability to read people’s minds, control objects, and pretty much creep the hell out of you. A horror movie that uses this general idea of bringing the dead back to life always makes for a good scary movie, but only if everything else falls into place. And sadly it doesn’t. The plot as a whole is great but the execution is awful.  It’s one of those movies that keep you in one setting the majority of the time, which gets boring when not done correctly.


The cast is one of the best things in the movie. Their roles as young doctors, researching for a serum are very credible. The chemistry between them feels natural which gives it a more believable feel to their performances. You might recognize some of the actors from other movies like Evan Peters (Clay) who played Quicksilver in X-Men: Days Of Future Past or Donald Glover (Nicko), one of the guys who are rumored to play the new Spiderman in yet another reboot. It’s always an annoying thing when a movie makes a character a “badass” or a “smart ass” like they did with Clay’s character. It’s a typical horror movie cliche. I wish they would just stop it already.


Olivia Wilde (Zoe) does an excellent job with her character from both sides of the spectrum. She’s great at playing the smart religious doctor to the creepy lady that is trapped inside a demonic body. At times Zoe will just look extremely creepy which is more scary than when she actually starts to unleash hell amongst her friends. Horror movies usually have jump scares that will catch you completely off guard but for The Lazarus Effect, you could see them coming  a mile away. Typical jump scares range from lights flickering to BOOM! – the creepy lady is now right in front of you.  It’s just a little too predictable and are easily avoided if you watch a lot of scary movies. By far the movie is scarier when they had discussions about Heaven and Hell. That happened early in the movie, building up to what was a very disappointing ending. Don’t get me wrong, the cast and most of the story was great but what they did with this plot was ridiculous and predictable. The good thing is that it only runs 83 minutes long so if you do get disappointed half way through, you won’t have to wait long before the film is over.

Going into The Lazarus Effect, I was expecting a much scarier movie, especially since these are the guys that brought you Sinister and Insidious, some of the scariest movies ever made. I would easily recommend you checking out Sinister before I would recommend The Lazarus Effect. This is a great movie for a weekend rental from Redbox at most. Bringing the dead back to life is a great story concept for a horror movie, but only if it has a good, scary story to tell and the plots are executed properly.  This movie also hints at a possible sequel. Hopefully by the time “Lazarus Effect 2” rolls out, they can correct some of the mistakes they did with this one. Have any of you guys seen The Lazarus Effect this weekend? What did you think about it? Let me know in the comments below and for all your latest movie reviews keep it locked to FGE!



  • Acting is Great
  • Science vs Religion


  • Predictable horror movie
  • Not scary
  • Bad ending
  • Uncontrolled killing spree towards the end


Christopher Loi
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