A group of medical researchers develop a serum intended to assist coma patients but it actually can bring the dead back to life.
In the first act a laboratory is closed down just as a team is on the cusp of a new discovery reminiscent of elements Flatliners and Hollow Man and naturally Frankenstein with scientists playing God, it's a paint by numbers affair but stylishly filmed by director David Gelb with its moody lighting, torches and strobe effects in the modern laboratory interiors and it has some computer generated effects to match.
With a small cast ensemble it's finely acted, Sarah Bolger is good as Eva who is documenting the experiments, notable is the creditable Olivia Wilde as Zoe, American Horror Story's Evan Peters shines and there's a cameo from Twin Peaks Ray Wise. The second act takes a turn In direction after an accident and a team member is brought back from the dead allowing them to use 90 percent of their brain with neurological extra sensory powers - telekinesis, enhanced hearing, psychic powers and the like. Just like Deadly Friend and the aforementioned movies you know it's not going to end well but it's entertaining never the less.
With music by Sarah Schachner the base and pulse like score add to mood of Gelb's dark tone. The third act touches on thought projection with the director offering some abstract imagery with A Nightmare on Elm Street style coupled with Event Horizon consequences to the team as they are picked off one by one by Zoe. Gelb even throws in some CCTV footage segments and Ring/Grudge/Shutter chills for good measure.
Written by Luke Dawson and Jeremy Slater they offer some logical convincing scientific dialogue but the story as you can tell from the comparable amount of films mentioned it doesn't scream originality. While the twist in the closing doesn't offer any earth shattering kabooms to those familiar with the genre it's a decent update on an age old interesting subject and really showcases what a talented actor Wilde is proving she can shoulder a film effortlessly. Gelb, Dawson and Slater do give a refreshing nihilistic ending which teases a welcomed sequel debatably more enticing that its parent.
Overall The Lazarus Effect is a mash-up of ideas with a universal interesting theme in which Bolger and Wilde's performance shine in the darkly lit sets.