2015’s first hilarious comedy is in and it’s called The Lazarus Effect. Hmmm? Not a comedy, you say? Oh dear. Then I have a few problems with what is possibly the most derivative film I’ve ever seen in an actual movie theater.
First, a warning. I know quite a few people who have severe problems and violent aversion to seeing animal testing in laboratories. This is not your movie. That it is also not anyone’s movie is a happy byproduct, but if you’re smashed and it seems intriguing on Netflix (where it will be in three months), don’t set yourself up. Four students….or doctors…..it isn’t really made clear, are working in a lab on a serum that was originally designed to give surgeons more time to work with patients who have lost brain activity and still restore them. Since the beginning of the experiment, though, the lead scientist (The League‘s Mark Duplass) has taken it a big step further; seeing if the serum can actually revive the dead.
After an initial success with a dog, who (gasp) seems to have some behavioral issue, a tragic accident in the lab forces them to try to the serum on one of their own. This turns out to be a very poor choice. I like this cast, which -in addition to Duplass- has Community‘s Donald Glover, American Horror Story‘s Evan Peters and House’s Olivia Wilde. All four of these actors have proven to have extremely gifted comedic talents in other settings….so why isn’t there a single intentional laugh in this whole film?
As for the “plot”, the first third of the film is Flatliners, the second third is Paranormal Activity and we’re brought home by Carrie. If you’ve seen any of those films, you’ve seen movies that seem like Citizen Kane in comparison to The Lazarus Effect look like. They even set up the ending for a sequel. I swear to you guys, if enough of you go see this to finance a sequel, I will find you and I will make you watch this first movie over and over and over. 2015’s limbo contest as to how bad films can be continues, and this can’t quite dip below Taken 3, because it was in parts kind of hysterical in ways never intended from the script.