There have been plenty of horror-thrillers about people being brought back to life following death, but fewer that delve into the mysteries of an afterlife and the moral and physiological ramifications of human resurrection. "The Lazarus Effect" teases that it is going to dig deeper than the average studio-made genre offering, but just when things start to look up and get interesting, it discouragingly turns into a movie more concerned with its body count than asking tough questions. "Flatliners," this is not, and what a shame it is that director David Gelb (2012's "Jiro Dreams of Sushi") and screenwriters Luke Dawson (2008's "Shutter") and first-timer Jeremy Slater are so beholden to cheap, repetitive scare tactics. Not a single audience jump is earned—a result of sheer predictability and poorly timed editing. What is left shows glimmers of a promise left unfulfilled.
Engaged medical researchers Frank (Mark Duplass) and Zoe (Olivia Wilde) are on the verge of a scientific breakthrough, creating a serum that has the ability to resurrect deceased creatures while restoring their cognitive function. Working on this secret project with the university grant money they received to investigate neural decay in coma patients, their unsanctioned alternate experimentations have led to not only reanimating a dead canine, but inadvertently curing the dog's cataracts. When the review board catches wind of what they have been working on, all of Frank and Zoe's research is confiscated from them. Fearing that they will not receive due credit for their findings, they and their assistants—Clay (Evan Peters), Niko (Donald Glover), and photographer Eva (Sarah Bolger)—sneak back to the lab after hours with plans to duplicate the experiment. When a freak electrocution stops Zoe's heart and standard resuscitation does not work, Frank desperately injects the serum into his fiancée. The person who returns to them is not quite the same Zoe, however, her increased brain function and knowledge of what awaited her after death paving the way for a downward spiral of destruction that could very well threaten no less than the natural process of evolution itself.
See Dustin Putman, TheFilmFile.com. for full review