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Olivia Wilde is brought back from the dead in David Gelb’s horror film.

Daniel McFadden

1.5 out of 4 stars

Written by
Luke Dawson, Jeremy Slater
Directed by
David Gelb
Starring
Olivia Wilde, Mark Duplass
Classification
14A
Country
USA
Language
English

Early on in the unnecessary horror film The Lazarus Effect, a dog that is brought back to life is moody and off his kibbles and bits. What if he wanted to stay in doggie heaven, one of the medical researchers who raised the pooch from the dead asks. A good question, but one that David Gelb's unadventurous shock-happy feature doesn't answer.

The premise involves clandestine laboratory experiments and a brain-stimulating serum initially aimed at resurrecting flat-lined animals. But when Olivia Wilde's researcher character dies by accident, her fiancé and fellow doctor (Mark Duplass) ups the game and manages to resurrect her.

She was dead for an hour – long enough for a trip to hell and back. Her powers are supernatural and ungodly, and while the monster Wilde is scary enough, the directing and writing is lazy, relying on "boo!" tactics and insinuating a religious subtext by cutting to close-ups of crucifix jewellery. The ending is slapdash. No resurrection for this dog please.

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