This weekend I had the unfortunate opportunity to watch “The Lazarus Effect”. It tried very hard to have redeeming factors, but when it came down to it, the movie fell into the same traps most sci-fi/horror movies do.
It starts with your typical character tropes. You have the a-hole kid who doesn’t follow the rules but somehow has the expertise needed to solve the most complex technical problems in their bio-research lab. You also have the older male scientist who is too busy with his work to marry his fiancée, who is also a researcher. The fiancée herself is also an expert on biotechnology, yet somehow she feels strongly about her Catholic roots and believes man shouldn’t play god. You then have the ‘camera girl’, who has an absence of personality and is only a student that they trusted with filming their secret research. The camera girl is even called an ‘outsider’ in the group several times during the movie, and she never presents any credentials which would make the viewer think she had any right to be there. The only possibly redeeming role in this movie is played by Donald Glover. His character is in love with the fiancée, and clearly has been for years, but he is too noble to try and convince her to leave her fiancée. Unfortunately, his character is also hijacked by horrible writing.
Everything starts out so well. They attempt to bring a dead pig back to life. Fail. Then they try to bring a dead dog back to life, and of course since dogs are so much more loveable than pigs, the dog makes it. They don’t even keep the dog in a metal cage for observation, instead, they comment about how odd it’s acting, and about how it may act aggressively due to hyperthyroidism. So of course they must bring it home and let it run free inside their house. If this gives you an idea about how well the characters can analyze complex ideas, or their survivability overall, then you probably have a good idea about how well the rest of this movie goes.
The movie’s actual plot — the consequences of trying to bring a human back to life — has been recycled so many times the movie even calls itself out when it uses the “you only use 10% of your brain” plot.
If you don’t like jump-scares, and like your horror to be bloody and psychological, don’t expect this movie to be your cup of tea. The actual plot isn’t scary in the slightest and they have to use dirty tricks to make it fit into the horror genre.