YET ANOTHER Horror Movie Review Because It's HALLOWEEN! ("The Lazarus Effect")

#22, October 25, 2015

 

I've finally figured out why I have this bizarre need to write horror movie reviews—it's because it's almost Halloween! So with that in mind, here's another one!

 

** CONTAINS SPOILERS **

 

Story summary: young medical researchers striving to help mankind accidentally create a way to revive the dead.

 

This isn't an original idea. Been done before.* But The Lazarus Effect is a perfect example of how an old concept can still make a great story when it's given a fresh twist supported by a lot of filmmaking talent.

 

The movie is nicely unsettling from the start, with images during the opening credits that we've seen many times before. But as with the familiar story concept, these familiar images are presented effectively. I won't tell you what the images are, but here's a hint: squish squish.

 

Now to the details. I'm not gonna use my list this time, because all the major mechanical aspects of this flick are done well: script, direction, casting/acting, set design, music, editing, etc., it all works. *I take my hat off even though I don't wear a hat* I give a special YAY! to actress Olivia Wilde, who definitely had fun with her character Zoe. Without spilling too much, I'll just say that she got to be professional, sexy, funny, cute, lovey-dovey, devoted, dead, creepy, chilling and dangerous, pretty much in that order. (I'll always like Wilde. She made the character of 13 in the TV show House such an incredibly real person. Wonderful actress.)

 

Anyhow, that's it! Quick review, huh?

 

Oh, wait. I do have a gripe. There's only one non-white character in the film—Niko, the cute black tech wizard. And he's the first person to die. We need to stop this, Hollywood. Every time I watch a horror flick that has only one non-white character, they usually die first. Let's phaser out the Star Trek red shirts, 'kay? 'Nuff said.

 

Oh, one more thing! I caught an homage at the very end of the film. When the character Eva (played by Sarah Bolger) thinks she's finally escaped from a terrible nightmare state, she is saved by a fireman—who, when he turns his helmeted face to her (and us), is revealed to actually be the recently-died-and-revived-but-her-soul-might-be-stuck-in-Hell-so-she's-totally-bonkers Zoe, which means that SURPRISE! the nightmare isn't over after all! This exact same reveal was used at the end of Event Horizon with Sam Neil. Hey, a good trick never dies, especially if it has shock value.

 

So that's it, really it, for now. Gotta go watch more horror flicks before Halloween!

 

* My favorite version was Flatliners, the 1990 medical student creep fest that starred Kiefer Sutherland and an assortment of brat packish actors of the time. Watch it if you haven't yet—it's an entertaining psychological spook ride. And Flatliners was the movie that introduced the use of plastic sheeting to create a cheap yet spooky atmosphere. There's nothing that says "horror" better than the twitch-inducing crinkle sound of characters pushing their way through pointlessly numerous barriers of plastic sheeting. (*I take the hat I'm not wearing off to plastic sheeting*)