A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Basically the same theme as that of literary classics Frankenstein and The Monkey's Paw: Man shouldn't play God, trying to take control over life and death. There will be consequences.
Positive Role Models
Though the characters are presumably smart, inventive med students, they pretty much end up as monster bait.
Violence & Scariness
Lots of scary stuff. Dead animals on an operating table, suddenly jumping to life. Nightmare sequences about a burning building. Needles, a heart Defibrillator, and other creepy operating room stuff. Jump-shocks. Characters die in gruesome ways. Blood is shown.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A loving couple kisses. The woman also kisses another man. A discussion about dental dams.
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"S--t" used several times, plus "ass," "d--k," "bitch," and "hell."
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Products & Purchases
The game World of Warcraft is shown.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
A character smokes an electronic cigarette, even though others ask him not to. (He pays the price.) Characters drink wine at home, champagne for a celebration.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Lazarus Effect is a horror thriller about a group of medical students who resurrect a dead woman, with unexpected results. There's lots of scary stuff and plenty of jump-shocks, plus blood, deaths, and some creepy hospital-type stuff (i.e. needles). Dead animals are shown and experimented on. Language isn't frequent but includes a few uses of "s--t" and other words. Two characters are a couple and are seen kissing, cuddling, etc. The female lead also briefly kisses another man, and there's a discussion about dental dams. One character smokes an electronic cigarette, to the others' annoyance, and there's some wine and champagne drinking. The movie has the same "don't play God" themes as classics like Frankenstein and The Monkey's Paw and could spur discussions about life and death. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
The movie is a terrible recycling of old ideas, ranging from classics like Frankenstein and The Monkey's Paw to 2014's Lucy, not to mention the routine effects and jump-scares. The filmmakers might have used these things in fresh ways, but they don't bother. Rather, the movie anxiously, recklessly rushes through its plot toward the climax, as if it's afraid of anyone noticing its emptiness. Zoe doesn't even get a chance to adapt to her new condition or to ruminate on what she's been through. She goes from 0 to 60, from sweetheart to an evil monster with total control of her powers. What a waste of talent.
THE LAZARUS EFFECT barely avoids being yet another found-footage horror movie, even though it has a documentary filmmaker character (Sarah Bolger) filming everything, and security cameras are everywhere. That was a wise move, as was casting decent, reliable actors like Bolger, Duplass, Wilde, Donald Glover, and Evan Peters. But the next question becomes: What were they doing here?
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.