“The Lazarus Effect” (2015). Directed by David Gelb. Starring Olivia Wilde, Mark Duplass, Donald Glover and Evan Peters. Music by Sarah Schachner. A group of medical students discover a way to return dead things back to life. First animals, then people. What’s the worst that could happen?
Students working at St. Paternus University (yeah, that’s right, it’s named after the patron saint of churches. Why a school would name itself after a guy that was sainted for building a church- the Paternus (Father) church in Wales is beyond me. But, whatever. That’s hardly anything compared to how stupid this movie gets.
“The Lazarus Effect” stars a bunch of beautiful people who don’t look like scientists, and don’t really sound like them either, even with all the vague science jargon they toss around.
Intern Eva is making a documentary on the Lazarus Serum, a medical breakthrough that brings dead cells back to life. (What does that sound like? Oh… right. “Resident Evil.”)
For those of you who don’t know, Lazarus is some old dude that died in the Bible that Jesus resurrected. He may or may not have become a zombie and attacked people. It can’t be verified.
Zoe, who is clearly the genius of the group, bonded B-cell tumors (which speed up nerve fiber growth or so they say in the movie) with some other junk to make a serum, and then inject it into the brain of a dead animal, and then hit it with Old Sparky, I mean electricity, to revive the brain. (What does that sound like? That’s right! “Frankenstein.” Damn, does this movie have any originality at all?)
According to the IMDB page, in this movie, they use 11 kilovolts (Or kilowatts depending on the scene. Yeah. It’s that bad. They can’t even get the amount of electricity correct.) to jolt the brain and induce a chemical reaction in the serum that will revive the dead cells.
The movie goes on, stupidly, stumbling forward, trying to establish character motivation and interpersonal relationships, like some crap about Zoe wanting to marry one of the guys on her team but putting it off for her research is finished.
Some time later, Zoe has a nightmare. She’s in a burning apartment building. A group of people are pounding at her door begging for help, and she sees burnt hands reach under the door to grab her. Ooooh! Spoopy! (This is supposed to allude to her making a mistake as a kid or her being the Spawn of Satan. We’re still not sure on that one.)
Chain smoker Clay suggests that they do another experiment and revive a dog that was recently killed because it had cataracts or rabies or something. They don’t elaborate on it.
After they inject the serum and electrocute the dead dog, Eva swears she sees it moving, but of course, the sciencey scientists of science don’t believe her, which is only done in the script to set up a stupid jump scare where Niko (one of the researchers) moves close to check on the dog and it wakes up and starts barking frenetically at him.
Ahhhhh. So scared.
Startling people doesn’t mean that you’re scaring them. You’re just making them jump in their seats. Cut it out already.
Even dumber, not only do they find that the dog’s cataracts are now gone. It was miraculously healed. Thank you Jesus! I mean, Doctor Frankenstein… No. Wait. Thank you Albert Wesker from “Resident Evil.”
Thanks Umbrella Corporation, for bringing dead cells back to life!
The researchers celebrate, woop dee doo, and then Zoe, for some unfathomable reason, decides to be the recently revived dog home with her for “observation” or something.
Hold on a sec right there.
The dog is the first successful revived subject. It is proof at the serum works. It’s priceless. So you’re going to take it home with you? Man, what?
We here at Bloody Whisper would like to point out that this is NOT how science is done. Fantastical elements of revivification aside, let’s look at the “scientists” doing “science” in a “science lab.” Yes, it’s all quotation marks because this movie is so full of it, it stinks. It has less science in it, than the so-called Science Fiction horror movie, “Prometheus.”
First of all, a test subject is ALWAYS LEFT IN THE LAB, where the environmental variables can be controlled. Well…mostly. There’s always risk of contamination in an experiment, but still.
Secondly, this was a corpse. A dead animal. A DEAD ANIMAL. DEAD. Gone. Finito. Pushing Daisies. Dead.
OK kids, quiz time!
What happens after an animal dies? That’s right! The bacteria in its stomach go nuts and it starts to decompose, and become a bloated, nasty smelling, oozing mess. Needless to say, the bacteria that decompose i.e. eat, dead flesh, aren’t safe for anyone. We don’t recommend playing with them or getting the necrophage bacteria starter kit.
So, this now not-so-dead dog, isn’t bathed, or has its blood drawn for analysis, or put into a kennel for observation. Instead they take it home with them. Because reasons.
It won’t drink or eat anything, and yet they think it’s a FANTASTIC idea to take it home with them. Sigh…
In the middle of the night the dog wanders in to Zoe’s bedroom while she’s sleeping, and stands and stares at her…you know, like that one chick did in “Paranormal Activity”? Yeah. Exactly like that. Except it got up and stood on her bed.
The next day, they bring the dog back to the university to do an MRI on it. (WTF. Why not just leave the dog overnight in a kennel in the research lab if you’re going to do that? Oh wait, that’s right. Because you wanted to film a scene out of “Paranormal Activity.” My bad.)
Anyways somehow, the MRI (sorry, the alleged MRI, as some sources state that the machine shown is actually a CAT Scan) shows that the Lazarus serum is still active in the dog’s brain. Somehow. We think.
These are the worst scientists ever. They would win a Darwin Award for doing stupid things to make themselves go extinct.
Then another jump scare, as Clay (another researcher), is left alone in the lab with the dog. The dog somehow magically gets out of the cage, opens the refrigerator door, leaves it open, and waits for Clay look under the exam table for it. When Clay stands up, the dog is there, barking at him. Such Spoopy. Much scare.
As sad as it sounds, they should have put down the dog (again). It’s aggressive behavior meant that sooner or later it was going to attack and either maim or kill someone.
So not only does this movie ignore animal behavior and displays of aggression that are warning signs that the animal is threatening to attack, but it throws all common sense about how science experiments are done out the window. Gee, it’s almost like they work for the Umbrella Corporation.
The BSAA should investigate this St. Patronus University. Where’s Chris Redfield when you need him? Oh yeah, that’s right. He’s out back in the volcano punching boulders. Again.
The “genius” researchers then discover the symptoms of revivification via the Lazarus Serum. Not because they closely monitored this priceless animal that anyone would kill to get their hands on, because well, it could revolutionize medicine and get rid of death as we know it. But because they stumbled upon it when the dog did stuff and things. (*ahem* Just like Rick Grimes.)
What are the symptoms?
- Loss of Appetite
- Severe Itching
- Craving human flesh
(OK, those last two I made up. It’s from “Resident Evil.” Just go play the game. Sheesh.)
Then, after all this stupidity, even more stupid shit happens.
Frank (Zoe’s beloved or something) talks to the Dean, because reasons. I guess he was concerned or needed a hug or something.
Anyways, the Dean smacks him with a newspaper and tells him he was a bad dog, metaphorically speaking. Basically, the Lazarus Research wasn’t sanctioned. They were never given permission to do it. And they wasted their grant money on a project, just because they wanted to play God.
Thus, the All Powerful Pharmaceutical Company Crylonis (an obvious Umbrella Corp. operation) takes their research. Because reasons. I told you guys, that people would kill (i.e. do anything include screwing over their loved ones) for this information. But noooo! You didn’t listen and now all your work has been stolen, your grant is revoked and Werner Gross Biotechnical (*cough* Umbrella Corp.) stole all your data. Way to go guys.
Zoe says it’s Eva’s fault for losing their work…even though it was probably her idea to use grant money on a project that wasn’t approved of. Meaning that they lied in their grant application, and got money for something they never intended to work on. What a bunch of assholes.
After all of that crap, Frank (damn it Frank!) says that they should try replicating the experiment. Gee, you think? Part of the Scientific Method is to repeat the experiment until you have results that anyone can duplicate if they followed the same procedure.
Didn’t any of these people pay attention in 6th Grade Science Class? Scriptwriter, I blame you!
For those of you that skipped 6th Grade Science Class, this is the Scientific Method in a nutshell:
Got it? Good.
So… next dumb plot point from the idiot brigade, I mean research team:
Zoe smuggled a bag of the priceless and probably highly toxic Lazarus serum out of the lab. So she suggests that they break into the lab and try another experiment, because reasons. (Wow, now they’re adding breaking and entering/trespassing to their list of stupid things to do today.)
Zoe forgets to take off her jewelry and when they go to electrocute the brain of yet another dead dog, she herself is electrocuted. Why? Because yet again we have “scientists” doing “science” that is not “sciencey.”
What is the #1 rule safety rule for working with electricity?
According to the Merck Manual- an actual sciencey document made by a scientific company that does science, “Electrical devices that touch or may be touched by the body should be properly insulated, grounded, and incorporated into circuits containing protective circuit-breaking equipment.” (Electrical Injuries. By Daniel P. Runde, MD. You can read it here.)
Therefore, any scientist working in a research lab with electricity would be using equipment that is properly insulated, grounded and uses a circuit breaker. (Yeah.This really isn’t THAT important, since most of you probably don’t engineer, build or use such types of devices, but I wanted to point out the fact that nothing in this movie is accurate. At all. If you’re really interested in injuries caused by electricity, you can read up more on it here.)
Where was I? Oh yeah.
So Zoe is electrocuted, and instead of calling 911 and getting her to a hospital where they can properly revive her with those paddle thingies, they decide to use the serum on her. Because Frank “didn’t want to lose her.”
Then, surprise, surprise, Zoe is revived and looks like a zombie, but then her wounds are completely healed.
Eva asks her if she saw anything while she was dead, but Zoe doesn’t answer. Yeah, that’s not suspicious at all.
And, similar to Alice in the equally ridiculous “Resident Evil” movie series, Zoe now has telekinesis and is telepathic. Yay! Zoe can shatter glass with her mind and her eyes turn all black at random.
So now Zoe messes with her research team and tries to kills them off, because she’s possessed by something EEEEEVIIIIL.
Her boyfriend/would be fiance plots to kill her for good, but since she can read minds, she knows what he is planning. Some more dumb things happen, there’s a couch, an electric cigarette death scene and magical teleportation.
What is this? A “Paranormal Activity” movie?
So then Zoe injects herself with more serum to become the ULTIMATE WEAPON of Albert Wesker, and there’s like demons, or Zoe is a demon? I don’t know. It doesn’t matter, because the ending is so stupid.
Basically, Zoe kills everyone, then injects her blood into the corpse of her boyfriend/fiance and revives him.
Then a zombie demon (zemon) outbreak starts, like in “[REC],” except not as cool or entertaining and scary. We think. It’s not clear. But if she can make another one, she’ll probably going to keep doing it until she has a zemon army. Because Sequel Bait.
“The Lazarus Effect” is about stupid scientists making stupid mistakes because they wanted to be gods. Then everyone dies. Yay!
If anything, it is a good example of people ripping off a ton of ideas from random movies and throwing them at the wall to see which one sticks. The end result? Nothing that happens in this movie makes any sense.
This isn’t even a movie that is so bad that it’s funny. It’s just bad and a chore to sit through.
Don’t watch it.
You have been warned.