The Lazarus Effect (2015)

Olivia Wilde is both very pretty and talented. Her choice of movies has been kind of a mixed bag. She has performed well in pretty much all of them, but that doesn't mean she can pick which movie is the right one to apply her talents to. In this respect, she reminds me of Cuba Gooding Jr. I wonder which side of 2.5 (the middle of the road for my scores) this movie will land on.

Ever see Flatliners? Imagine mixing that movie with the sci-fi movie Event Horizon, and you get some idea of the plot of this movie. A group of scientists working in research for a university are testing a new serum that allows them to restore life to a corpse (hopefully). And they quickly test it out on a dog that comes back. They really don't know why this special serum is acting the way it is, and they have absolutely no experience with this particular dog, so rather than have the pup under lock and key and 24 hour video and the watchful eye of trained scientists, they take the dog home.

It's this kind of disregard for the scientific process and common sense that paves the way for what I think everyone can see coming. If you have a serum that brings the dead back to life, and you have no idea what it might be doing to their minds, then you absolutely have to kill off one of the main characters and bring them back to life with the serum with the amazingly misplaced belief that this person will be fine and not at all try to kill everyone.

All of the actors seem to take their roles seriously and consequently perform admirably, but the plot is just so simple and easy to see coming that it kind of spoils the whole movie. It's not like we have a bunch of particularly interesting dialog to deal with, either. Instead, we get cookie-cutter characters with predictable reactions and not much else going on. It's a shame, really, as they had talent to work with, and they clearly had a good budget, but they couldn't actually produce something worthy of the effort put into it. 

Is there a solution? Well, rewrite the entire movie, reshoot everything, and have an entirely different plot, and then you might have something. Why do movie makers put money into these things? Why do they think this is good cinema? I suspect they are all now run like Canon Films was in the Bloodsport years; they all have the philosophy that, if you keep production costs down enough, you can't help but make money on the movie, no matter how bad it is.

Acting was good
Effects were good
Story was not good
Dialog was not good
Direction was fine.

Bottom Line: Not a horror, not a thriller, not a drama. I'm hard pressed to figure out what this movie even is.



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