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The Lazarus Effect | 2015 | PG-13 | - 2.6.5

An engaged couple (Mark Duplass and Olivia Wilde) leads a university team of biomedical researchers to develop a serum they call "Lazarus," which can revitalize dead animals. As the team begins planning for clinical trials, the leader's fiancée suffers electrocution and dies, whereupon he administers Lazarus to her and she is revived, but something sinister comes back with her. Also with Donald Glover, Evan Peters and Sarah Bolger. Directed by David Gelb. [1:23]

SEX/NUDITY 2 - A man and a woman kiss and hug briefly. A woman tries to kiss a man, he resists, she kisses him and he pushes her away.
 A crying woman says to a man, "You used to love me," and he says that he does and she asks in a deep voice why he has a syringe behind his back (please see the Violence/Gore category for more details). A man says that a new student in their lab is cute, with sexy red hair and his fiancée playfully slaps his shoulder. A woman tells a male friend that in the past he should have known what a dental dam was for and it's not dentistry.
 Two women wear scoop-necked tops that reveal cleavage. One woman wears a bra and tight jeans, revealing her bare midriff, cleavage and bare shoulders/arms. A sleeping woman in bed wears a nightgown that reveals cleavage, bare shoulders and arms as a large dog walks toward her (please see the Violence/Gore category for more details) and from an angled overhead view we can see the dog's penis (completely sheathed in fur) as the scene ends.


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VIOLENCE/GORE 6 - In a dim lab hallway a woman tells a man to put down a syringe, takes his bleeding head in her hands, crushes and twists the head and we see the man fall, dead. A woman throws a fireball out of her hand at a woman, slamming her into a wall, still conscious. A woman uses an invisible power to slam a man into a metal cabinet, slams the doors shut and locks them; he shouts and she uses her mind to crumple the cabinet and in a close-up we see a sizeable amount of blood flow from the cabinet and onto the floor.
 A woman (seemingly possessed) bears down on another woman with a snarling face in the hallway, the face melting in flames and embers, and a child opens the door and blinding light appears. A woman stabs a possessed woman with two large hypodermic needles (please see the Substance Use category for more details); the possessed woman falls to the floor with her eyes open and dead and then disappears in a few seconds. In a darkened lab, the camera pans past the dead bodies of a woman and three men in a line with their foreheads a little bloody and their eyes open; the camera cuts to the bodies on four operating tables as a woman inserts an IV line into her arm to drain some of her blood (we do not see the blood) into a robotic arm and then inserts one needle from the other end of the arm into the right temple of a dead man; his eyes and mouth open, he gasps loudly and he sits up toward the camera, alive, as the scene ends.
 A woman enters a room in a lab and inserts five needles from a robotic arm into her temple to receive more of a substance that revives one from death and increases neuron activity (her eyes become large and black). A man hugs a woman and when he pulls back to look at her, he has turned into a dead woman, revived and with black eyes; the revived woman twists the head of another woman, killing and dropping her. A woman invisibly shoves something into a man's throat; he gags and falls to the floor as another man shouts and uses forceps to remove a cylinder from the man's throat (it looks like an e-cigarette).
 Lights extinguish in a lab when a woman throws a large electric switch and a research team finds the woman dead on the floor with her eyes open and we see her ring finger with charred black and red areas where the ring conducted electricity; a man shouts and uses CPR and a defibrillator, but she is dead and he cries before placing her on a table and injecting her brain through the temple with a revival substance from a large needle attached to a robotic arm, the team walks away when nothing happens, but when they look back at her she is sitting up under a thin sheet and one man removes the sheet and she grabs his wrist, her face and lips are pale and she asks, "Did I just die?" A woman levitates in a standing position and causes all the furniture and equipment in the lab to rise into the air and crash down on a man (he is presumably dead, one leg and shoe sticking out from under a table) and another man crawls from under a piece of furniture with a cut on his forehead.
 A woman has nightmares of an apartment house's corridor filled with flames and smoke as someone pounds from behind the door at the end of the hall; twice, she startles awake with a deep grunt, but we later see this dream as an alternate reality in her science lab and another woman, crying and screaming, becomes trapped in it twice as it becomes more sinister. Black clawed hands reach out from under a door as a very young girl wearing pajamas looks at the door while holding matches and a woman tells the child it is not her fault the building caught fire and to open the door.
 A dark morgue features seven body bags lying in open drawers with one on a table; one of the bags sits up and a woman in the room screams, cries and runs to a man in the hall who tells her to calm down and they arm themselves with large syringes (please see the Substance Use category for more details) that will kill a woman they fear is possessed.
 MRIs of a dog and a woman after revival from death show the brains lit up completely as a scientist says that they are using 100% of their brains and creating additional neural pathways; he injects an unknown drug into the woman's arm as a sleep aid and she sleeps.
 A sequence includes microscope slides of cells with a black spiked substance sliding around them. A black and white, fuzzy close-up of a small dead pig shows large tubes leading into its head; we hear a pig squeal and hear a voice say that the experiment did not work, and then we see the head of the dead pig with its eyes open, in a sharp image. A dead muzzled dog with milky eyes receives an injection of a substance (please see the Substance Use category for more details) and two electric shocks; it jerks, barks and growls as it comes alive with its eyes free from cataracts; men and women scream in surprise and then laugh. A dead dog is injected with a substance and its reanimation is unsuccessful. A man takes a bag containing a bloody dog body out of a refrigeration unit; the camera cuts to the animal muzzled on a lab table as injection of the substance and two electric shocks fail. A woman looks into a mirror, removes a Band Aid from her temple and finds a black circle; her fingers begin to turn black and the mirror cracks loudly (it looks like someone punched it). A woman is shown with bloody red and black marks on her wrist where presumably something unknown grabbed her. A woman sees an image of her own face in a mirror and it is smiling as another image looks frightened; her eyes turn black, like large contact lenses.
 A dog yelps off-screen and the camera cuts first to an empty animal crate and then to a destroyed refrigerator with all the food gone, crumbs and empty bags on the floor; a man approaches the dog in another room and it snarls and shows its large teeth. A dog snarls at a man and another man says that they should kill the dog (they do not).
 A sleeping woman lies in bed (please see the Sex/Nudity category for more details) as a large dog stands on the bed and walks toward her face. Twice, a turntable plays an aria called "Queen of the Night" very loudly in a deserted laboratory; the soprano strains for the high notes and her voice is screeching. A woman at a microscope jumps and screams as a man slips in wearing a pig mask to scare her as a joke. Twice, a frightened woman hears her name called by a ghostly voice in a darkened laboratory.
 A man and a woman argue about Catholicism and an afterlife with him saying it is all hallucinations and a cute story. A man argues with the dean of his university about experimental protocols and ethics in a science project. A woman tells a man that she has been to the real hell for years and hell makes you relive your worst nightmare repeatedly. A woman says that she was in a burning building as a child and cannot forget it. A man puts a woman's engagement ring with her metal cross on a chain necklace and places the chain around her neck; she jumps as if the cross and ring hurt her. A woman says, "I did everything right and still ended up in hell." A woman sits in a ransacked lab and cries. A woman tells her fiancé that she has been in hell for years and he tells another man that there is something wrong with her. A woman reads the minds of people and speaks their thoughts as they speak and in one scene, she hears the thoughts of five people at once and becomes angry, frowning and staring at them.
 A woman walks into a room and speaks to a man, and then vomits a lot of white material onto the floor.


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LANGUAGE 5 - About 2 F-words, 16 scatological terms, 4 anatomical terms, 11 mild obscenities, name-calling (crazy, weird, ridiculous, Cujo, Big Parma), stereotypical references to men, women, scientists, Catholics, atheists, college students, pharmaceutical companies, college deans, 1 religious profanity (GD), 7 religious exclamations (e.g. Jesus, Holy [scatological term deleted], Jesus Christ, Jesus God).


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SUBSTANCE USE - A man smokes three marijuana cigarettes in a laboratory and in one scene he blows many smoke circles, talks loudly and then coughs, a man blows marijuana cigarette smoke into a dog's face as it looks out of its crate and a woman tells him not to smoke in the lab, a research team packages vials and IV bags of a white liquid that they call "Lazarus" which can bring the dead to life (the substance in a petri dish looks like bubbling marshmallow crème), a woman carries an IV bag of a substance in her purse, several cabinets in the lab contain unknown clear liquids in vials alongside cotton balls and syringes, a man and a woman fill several hypodermic needles with a substance that will stop the human heart, a woman stabs two of these hypos into a woman that has superhuman strength causing her to fall dead (she revives), a man tells his research team that there is no afterlife only the brain flooding with the chemical DMT to create hallucinations, and a man bandages a woman's cut forearm (please see the Violence/Gore category for more details) and tells her to take an Advil (she does not). A man and a woman drink large glasses of wine at home, a research team pops a bottle of champagne and they drink glasses of it.


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DISCUSSION TOPICS - Death, returning from the dead, the afterlife, hell, heaven, animal experiments, human experiments, powerful pharmaceutical companies, determination, obsession.

MESSAGE - Drugs probably cannot bring the dead to life without serious side effects.

CAVEATS

Be aware that while we do our best to avoid spoilers it is impossible to disguise all details and some may reveal crucial plot elements.

We've gone through several editorial changes since we started covering films in 1992 and older reviews are not as complete & accurate as recent ones; we plan to revisit and correct older reviews as resources and time permits.

Our ratings and reviews are based on the theatrically-released versions of films; on video there are often Unrated, Special, Director's Cut or Extended versions, (usually accurately labelled but sometimes mislabeled) released that contain additional content, which we did not review.


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