Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Film Review - The Lazarus Effect

Dead Wrong      
Film: The Lazarus Effect
Cast: Mark Duplass, Olivia Wilde
Directed by: David Gelb
Duration: 1 hr 24 mins
Rating: * * 1 / 2

The Lazarus Effect is a cross between a science fiction and a horror film and ends up being just about average on both the counts and on the whole. The screenplay just skims the surface, never really digging deep enough and part of it is sheer lazy writing. To be fair, the outline of the story had the potential for a taut thriller but barring a few occasions the screenplay doesn’t rise above the ordinary. 

It cuts to the chase right from the start, a group of medical scientists and students are working on a project, they are testing a serum which injected in the brain can bring the dead back to life. A dead dog is resurrected but his behavior is not exactly normal. Frank (Mark Duplass) and his fiancée Zoe (Olivia Wilde) are spearheading this project when the plug is pulled by the people financing it.

A freak accident occurs and Zoe gets electrocuted driving Frank into desperation to test out the serum on her. The effects are not exactly positive as she turns into a Frankenstein monster of sorts. Science takes a backseat and the gibberish about souls and heaven and hell takeover the narrative. She lets loose and fortunately we don’t see in great detail how she gets rid of her colleagues, one by one.

The direction by David Gelb who made the delightful documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi, resorts to the standard scare tactics and most of them are lame and there is no effort to make the science look convincing either.  

The horror element is clichéd and Zoe’s back story is the only that adds some spice to the otherwise routine proceedings.  The actors do justice to their characters, particularly Olivia Wilde – they needed a better script to back their performance.

At just 84 minutes, the film is not too taxing and like every horror film these days, this one also leaves ample scope for a sequel. If that happens, hopefully it will bring this dead story back to life.  

Published in The Navhind Times, Goa on 8th March 2015

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