Overall: When Olivia Wilde dies in a lab accident and is brought back to life, she begins exhibiting extreme signs of crankiness that lead to death. 2015; Blumhouse Productions; PG-13; 83 minutes.
The Boredom Effect: It’s a funny thing with so many arguments against superhero movies nowadays, we don’t really pay attention to the excessive output of other genres since they’re already staples at the box office. Too often do traditional genres pump out junk every other weekend for a quick buck. Just because your movie has a minimalist budget doesn’t mean you’re going to put it to good use. The Lazarus Effect isn’t terrible, it’s not really anything. The movie was on autopilot for the entire time. Fans of the traditional Blumhouse Productions (from Paranormal Activity 74 to Ouija), may find something to enjoy here. For the rest of us, at least Olivia Wilde is in this.
The Wilde Effect: Olivia Wilde needs something good to come out of this movie. She never gets as much recognition as she deserves, but she’s damn good here. Wilde is able to switch between reserved scientist into a presence of pure evil. Given the lackluster aesthetic the movie doesn’t ever bother elevating, it helps her standout more. It doesn’t need to be a superhero movie, but somebody needs to cast her as a villain where she crushes society with her boots.
The Boredom Effect 2: The rest of the cast is fine. The core cast is always likable in everything they do. If you like Mark Duplass, Donald Glover, Evan Peters, and Sarah Bolger in any of their other work, you’ll like them here. The characters (same for Wilde) are just so cookie cutter. The actors do their best with the material but when the bodies start dropping, there’s no sense of fear. No loss is felt when someone gets crushed in a closet.
If that last sentence made it seem like the deaths were brutal, I apologize for misleading you. They’re shallow and empty, just like the character vessels who suffered them. Shallow and empty is probably a good way to encapsulate my feelings about this movie as a whole. It doesn’t help that it’s just a bore of a movie.
Overall: There hasn’t been a recent horror movie that looks as bland as this. To set the horror mood, The Lazarus Effect resorts to flickering lights and dark shadows. We’ve seen it all before and seen it done much better. If even one ounce of creativity was exhibited, if there were more tricks than just mere parlor tricks, I’d be more willing to embrace this as well made garbage.