The Lazarus Effect (Blu-ray Review)

The Lazarus Effect Blu-ray ReviewI purposely chose to tackle the Blu-ray review of The Lazarus Effect for two main reasons.  First, I love stories about mad scientists.  There’s something about them playing God in the real world that just wildly appeals to me and curdles my blood.  Secondly, I feel like Anakin Skywalker at times.  I truly do want to stop people from dying, especially loved ones.  For anyone familiar with the biblical tale of Lazarus or even the reference in Nolan’s Interstellar last year, the man came back from the dead.  On any given day, that happening alone makes it a good one, no?  Of course it does!  So here we are.  It’s not the biblical times, but it’s 2015 and we have a movie that caters to both my obsession with raising the dead and people playing mad scientists.  So why shouldn’t I want to review The Lazarus Effect?  Now you’re getting it.

Lazarus Effect


I guess you could go on record billing The Lazarus Effect as a science fiction horror film, albeit not a very good one.  It was directed by David Gelb from a script written by Luke Dawson and Jeremy Slater.  The movie stars Mark Duplass, Olivia Wilde, Donald Glover, Evan Peters and Sarah Bolger.  The film was theatrically released this past February 27th and last week on Blu-ray/DVD, June 16th.  However, like Tomorrowland and Jupiter Ascending this year, some movies should just not see the light of day.  Read on and I shall tell you why.

The Lazarus Effect receives a film score of 2 simply because I adore the subject matter, not for the merits of the film at all.  My girlfriend actually conceded that she liked Tomorrowland more than this, I agree to disagree with that one.  Many times throughout the brief 80+ minute runtime (thank God) The Lazarus Effect felt very low budget, but mostly just lazy and non-ambitious.  I know after watching the extras they brought in and consulted with medical experts on the subject matter, but I’m sorry.  I’m just not buying it.  The story was boring, dull and convoluted at times.  This was no Flatliners or even Hollow Man, two of my favorite films in this science/horror genre that I love so much.

So here we are, it’s modern day times and Frank (Duplass) and his fiancee, a very sore subject matter in the film, Zoe (Wilde), and others have created a serum, code-named “Lazarus.”  They know it works because they revived a dog who was put down because he had cataracts.  Yeah, that’s why I would put down a dog, whatever.  Anyway, this serum is justified to them because their intention is good, not malicious or evil.  Yeah, right!  Tell me another one.  The serum is intended to assist coma patients and/or prolong the period of time you can revive someone before they experience brain damage and other internal horrors.

The moral of the story here is you guessed it, don’t play God.  The serum has undesired effects such as brain activity and neurons continuously firing and trying to digest the serum instead of it disappearing.  This causes craziness, delusions and ultimately rage in its experiments, both animal and human.  Yep!  I said human.  Oh no!  They did go there!  Haha.  They had to or else there wouldn’t have been a film here, right?  So in essence this is just like Hollow Man per say, just not very good.  It’s filled with bad dialogue, wooden acting (with the exception of Wilde who’s phenomenal here in her performance) and ultimately very anti-climatic, achieving nothing new in the genre at all.




In the extras they compare The Lazarus Effect as a marriage between Flatliners meets the classic Frankenstein.  I would not go that far.  Sure it does borrow heavily from both films, but in the end The Lazarus Effect struggles very much in finding its identity, is it demonic possession or is it craziness that ensues from being resurrected?  You are left not knowing and that bothers me.  They flip flop back and forth between the two (and even take a rejuvenated dog home like it is a household pet) and ultimately you’re just left with an everyday, non-sensical slasher film then with an open ending, which I hope never gets resurrected into a sequel.  Just let it “flatline” please.  Haha.  So now that you know the film’s not very good, what do you say we talk about the vitals of the Blu-ray disc presentation?

Lazarus Effect


The Lazarus Effect is presented on Blu-ray courtesy of 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment with an MPEG-4 AVC encoded 1080p transfer framed in a 2.40:1 aspect ratio.

  • Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC @33 MBPS
  • Resolution: 1o80p
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
  • Clarity/Detail The image is usually sharp throughout here.  It’s not the best I’ve ever seen, but definitely not shabby either.  Detail is prominent in all the lab equipment, set pieces and even imperfections in the complexion of Wilde is noticeable. There are some found footage moments as seen through security cams, etc. so the image quality does vary at times.
  • Depth:  Everything has that exceptional quality here that I lovingly refer to as depth of field, most notably in the lab environments where over 90% of this film takes place and of course the onscreen characters as a result mostly all exhibit that three-dimensional pop.
  • Black Levels:  Blacks are never are a problem for me as most of this film takes place in the dark and shadows and the levels are always deep and inky like a comic book.
  • Color Reproduction:  Colors are a trip here.  When they are allowed to be they are vivacious, vibrant and pop.
  • Flesh Tones:  Skin tones are all accurate and work well for me here.
  • Noise/Artifacts: There are no image issues as far as compression, noise or artifacts.

Lazarus Effect


The Lazarus Effect‘s lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 boasts a hearty, take no prisoners roar.

  • Audio Format(s): DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
  • Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
  • Dynamics:  The presentation here is all about the scares whether they are coming from behind or in your face.  No expense is spared in trying to scare you.  They even got us once!  As far as actual dynamics go though you must understand that the majority of this film takes place in the constraint of a laboratory setting.  Despite this, everything is well-balanced throughout.
  • Low Frequency Extension:  Along with the rears, the LFE channel serves up the scares trying to provoke those jump out-of-your seat moments.
  • Surround Sound Presentation:  The rears are excellent examples of meticulously blending the score, introducing ambient effects and most importantly, delivering all the rage and scares with the help of the LFE of course.
  • Dialogue Reproduction:  Dialogue is well prioritized and never gets drowned out even in the most intense of moments.  You can’t ask for anything more with this screaming horror surround track.

Lazarus Effect


Say what you want about the film.  It may not be your cup of tea.  However, for those of you who did like it, I don’t want to burst your proverbial bubble of joy, but there’s really not much here to find in the extras department.  In addition to getting a Digital Copy of the film, dubbed Digital HD, redeemable in either iTunes format or UltraViolet, The Lazarus Effect Blu-ray release will net profit you only four short, lonely supplements.  On the bright side, that is better than some releases.  Anyway, let’s take a closer deep dive look at what all you’ll find here.

  • Deleted and Extended Scenes (HD, 4:25) – There’s a Play All feature here, but otherwise you’re looking at the following individual segments: “Zoe Brain Scan,” “Clay Nvg Search” and “Frank Head Crush.”
  • Creating Fear: The Making of The Lazarus Effect (HD, 14:27) The cast and crew chat about the making of the film, events happening in reality, how real medical experts were consulted about things that happen in the film and more.
  • Playing God: The Moral Dilemma (HD, 7:46) Jason Blum and others talk about the fascination with dying and what happens afterwards.  They also spend some time going over how this kind of researches being conducted in the real world.
  • Theatrical Trailer (HD, 2:15) – I think you all know what this is, no explanation necessary.

Lazarus Effect


In The Lazarus Effect they mention the definition of “hell.”  The filmmakers define the concept of being in hell here as having to relive the worst moment of your life over and over again.  I guess if that is true, then you can equate hell with having to watch The Lazarus Effect.  However, your results may vary.


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The Lazarus Effect

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The Lazarus Effect


Owner/Writer/Reviewer/Editor, Dreamer, Producer, Agent of Love, Film Lover, Writer of Screenplays and a Devoted Apostle to all things Ford Mustangs (the real ones with V8's!). Some of my favorite films include FIGHT CLUB, MOULIN ROUGE, THE DARK KNIGHT, STAR WARS alongside television shows such as SEINFELD, 24, SANFORD & SON and even the often loathed in the geek community BIG BANG THEORY. Outside of my three lives I live I also enjoy spending time with my girlfriend and our three girls (of the furry kind).

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