Film / The Lazarus Effect

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Clinical trials can be hell.

The Lazarus Effect is a 2015 film starring Mark Duplass, Olivia Wilde, Sarah Bolger, Evan Peters, and Donald Glover. A team of scientists is working on creating a better means of resuscitating dead patients to allow doctors more time to heal them. When they get shut down for overstepping the bounds of their grant, they try to do one last experiment to prove they can do it... and things get worse when project leader Zoe gets accidentally electrocuted, only for her fiancée Frank to attempt the procedure on her. Things go downhill from there.


This film provides examples of:

  • Ax-Crazy: Zoe turns into an utter psycho when she comes back from the dead. Although it's possible that she was an unhinged loon to begin with, what with her involvement in the apartment complex fire and all.
  • Black Dude Dies First: Zigzagged. The plot of the movie, of course, hinges on the fact that Zoe dies and comes back, but she kills Nico first.
  • Black Eyes of Evil: Zoe post-resurrection.
  • Came Back Wrong: It starts with the dog they first successfully resurrect, Rocky. He's listless and won't eat or drink. Then he starts going all Cujo. Zoe herself starts exhibiting behavior that leads her friends to think she's Demonically Possessed. She very much isn't.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Mr. Wise, the owner of the rival pharmaceutical company and the Dean of the school. The latter allows the former to take all the research, and the former spied on the team and sabotaged their research once they got results.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Zoe survived a fire that killed many people in her apartment complex. She's had recurring nightmares of it for years. Turns out she set it.
  • Demonically Possessed: Eva thinks this might be the case, but it's unclear whether it was possession, Zoe going crazy from the resurrection, or Zoe going crazy from having been in Hell. Given she intentionally started the fire that ends up being her personal Hell, she might even have been bad all along.
  • Downer Ending: Between the rival corporation having its hands on the Lazarus research and the now evil Zoe resurrecting everyone she killed, no good can come of whatever happens next.
  • Dying as Yourself: Subverted. Zoe not only survives, it might have been just a dying dream.
  • The Ending Changes Everything: The ending shows the villain's Redemption Equals Death was all a Dying Dream by the Final Girl. The villain is alive, and the Final Girl is dead. This works well with the film's theme of Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane, as a magical explanation would make a great deal of what we saw accurate anyway, while a mundane explanation would call it into question.
  • Hell: Zoe claims that she went there after she died. For her, Hell was being forced to relive that fire in her apartment as punishment for starting it in the first place.
  • Hell Hound: Rocky, sadly.
  • "I Know You Are in There Somewhere" Fight: It works momentarily, but Frank was inwardly doubting she was herself and could be saved. Zoe picks up on it with her telepathy and... it doesn't end well for Frank.
  • Kick the Dog: Well, Rocky was already going creepy and possibly murderous, but Zoe taking him out was definitely part of her slippery slope.
  • Nightmare Sequence: Zoe, of a fire when she was a child. That she started. On purpose.
  • 90% of Your Brain: Clay thinks this is what's going on with Zoe. Though he notes that the regular trope is a myth and that it's 10% of the brain that gets used at a time, but her serum is causing her to use 100% of her brain all the time.
  • Psychic Powers: Zoe starts exhibiting a few.
  • Recycled Premise: Critics noted this movie resembles Flatliners.
  • Sequel Hook: The corrupt corporation has the research, and Zoe and her newly resurrected fiancée and friends are now free to wreak havoc.
  • Unrequited Love: Niko for Zoe.
  • Viral Transformation: After Zoe kills everyone, she then plugs herself into the injection machine and proceeds to start resurrecting everyone.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Film/TheLazarusEffect