It's been a long time since I saw "Flatliners", so my memories might be a bit hazy...but in that movie science students were intentionally killing themselves and being brought back in order to prove or disprove the existence of an afterlife. "The Lazarus Effect" has a similar idea but diverges in that these scientists just want to be able to extend life so medical doctors have more time, a second chance, to keep patients alive.

This entire movie is a great example of missed opportunities, unanswered questions, and failing to live up to potential. There are a ton of fun scares, some terrific imagery, even solid soundwork and musical cues...but it's all style, no substance. Jump scares are fine, but you can't build an entire movie around that concept. Lots of movies have taken advantage of a power outage to plunge the characters into darkness while the villain appears behind them as the light flicker back on, but "The Lazarus Effect" just keeps repeating its scares.

The script isn't that great either. We have the stereotypical group of researchers, the lead guy, the sexy girl, the brilliant slacker, and the black guy. There are hints at a dark past, some unrequited love, a mysterious corporation that is given sinister implications that go nowhere; things are either cliche, or just shrugged off. Mark Duplass might be the least favorite part of "The League", and he doesn't do much to impress me here. Olivia Wilde is easy on the eyes, and shows flashes of excellence but fails to be a really intimidating baddie. The supporting roles from Donald Glover and Evan Peters are good enough, but while Sarah Bolger is even easier on the eyes than Wilde, she is pretty weak for a scream queen.

One of the things I look for in a movie is memorability - will parts stick with me long after watching? For "The Lazarus Effect" there were definitely a few moments and shots and scenes that were memorable, but not enough to make up for the rest of the flaws.

[Celluloid Hero] gives "The Lazarus Effect" a 4 out of 10.




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