The Lazarus Effect parents guide

The Lazarus Effect Parent Review

Despite any mention of going into the light to a happy afterlife, "The Lazarus Effect" has a lot more to do with hell than heaven.

Overall C

The science behind a physician's power to heal appears to be getting a boost when some medical students discover a way to bring back the dead. This movie stars Olivia Wilde, Evan Peters and Mark Duplass.

Violence C
Sexual Content B-
Profanity C
Substance Use C-

The Lazarus Effect is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of horror violence, terror and some sexual references

Movie Review

You can argue all you want about the superiority of science over religion, but I have yet to see a movie that turns out well when scientists start playing god. With those statistics, it would seem obvious enough that film scientists shouldn’t go there. Apparently not.

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Zoe (Olivia Wilde) and Frank (Mark Duplass) are the head researchers in a university lab developing a serum to bring comatose patients back to consciousness. At least that is what they started out doing. Now they are trying to find a way to resurrect the confirmed dead. So far they have limited their experimentation to dead dogs they keep in a deep freezer. Yet after Zoe is electrocuted when a trial goes wrong, Frank, who also happens to be Zoe’s fiancĂ©, decides to use the serum on his dearly departed.

The treatment appears to work and Zoe is back. Still, she is not quite herself.

Working alongside Franks are two lab assistants (Donald Glover and Evan Peters) and a student videographer (Sarah Bolger) who is making a digital recording of all the experiments. (Thankfully the moviemakers behind this film, which also produced scary titles like The Purge, Paranormal Activity and The Boy Next Door, opted to use steady cams instead of the handheld variety that can leave audiences feeling a little queasy. That was a good choice since there are enough creaky doors, flickering lights and jump scenes to keep fans of this genre at least mildly entertained without becoming nauseated.)

The action takes place in a sterile underground lab where it not only gets dark when the lights go out, but it is also easy to keep anyone from escaping. And in this script, it isn’t the rebooted Zoe who is interested in getting out—at least not until she has taken care of her fellow lab partners. The guessing game in this movie, like all good horror stories, is to figure out who will go first.

The plot does contain a religious bent. Though both dedicated scientists, Zoe and Frank come at their research from different angles. While Zoe brings her faith to the table, Frank is all about quantifiable facts. And he isn’t above making a mockery of her beliefs. However the religious discussions are completely overshadowed once the mutilations begin.

The biggest content concerns in this movie are the violent and often graphic depictions of resuscitation and gruesome murders by a zombie-like character. Frequent mild and moderate profanities are used, as well as some sexual references. There is also a lab assistant who insists on smoking his e-cigarette inside the research area.

Don’t expect to be spiritually enlightened with this story of resurrection either. Despite any mention of going into the light to a happy afterlife, The Lazarus Effect has a lot more to do with hell than heaven.

Directed by David Gelb. Starring Olivia Wilde, Evan Peters, Mark Duplass. Running time: 84 minutes. Theatrical release February 27, 2015. Updated

Get details on profanity, sex and violence in The Lazarus Effect here.

The Lazarus Effect Parents Guide

Note: This movie was perviously named Lazarus.

The name Lazarus is associated with the idea of being risen from the dead, because of the miracle accounted in the Bible.

Talk about the movie with your family…
Why is Zoe more interested in addressing the ramifications of bringing someone back from the dead than Frank is? How does she explain the bright light at the end of the tunnel? How does Frank? How is their original research designed to give doctors more time to save patients?

What elements are included in the movie to depict Zoe’s religious beliefs? What happens to them after she comes back from the dead?

Zoe describes hell as living the worst day of your life over and over again. What day would that be for you?

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