Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Horror – The Lazarus Effect (2015)

Director: David Gelb

Writer: Luke Dawson, Jeremy Slater (Screenplay)

Starring: Mark Duplass, Olivia Wilde, Sarah Bolger, Evan Peters, Donald Glover, Ray Wise

 

Plot: A group of medical researchers discover a way to bring dead patients back to life.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Just Didn’t Click

 

Story: The Lazarus Effect starts as we meet our team Frank (Duplass), Zoe (Wilde), Eva (Bolger), Clay (Peters) and Niko (Glover) who have been working on bring animals back from the dead with the Lazarus serum with the latest attempt bringing Rocky the dog back to life.

When the research project is sudden closed down, all the data is taken by Mr Wallace (Wise) who works for a pharmaceutical company, the team break into the lab to perform the experiment one last time so they can take the credit the last few years of their lives have work towards.

When disaster strikes Zoe is killed in an accident but Frank not accepting losing her decides to perform the experiment on her, to bring her back from the grave. It starts by looking like a success but it soon turns strange when Zoe has gifts she didn’t used to possess including telepathic and foresight.

 

Thoughts on The Lazarus Effect

 

Characters/PerformanceFrank is the lead scientist leading the research team, he is engaged to Zoe and once she dies he goes uses his research to bring her back to life. Zoe is the partner of Frank and leading member of the research team, once she is killed in an accident she is bought back to life but this time he is different. Eva is the newest member of the team will Niko and Clay are the generic playful rest of the team.

Performance Wise, it would be fair to say the performance don’t use the talent available to their full abilities, Olivia Wilde isn’t up to her normal levels, but it is the underused Evan Peters and Donald Glover which disappoints most.

StoryScientists look to bring the dead back to life, I have heard this one before and sure we get a modernised tale on this that does feel more scientific but in the end it just falls into ‘what is in the afterlife’ style and you must be evil if you come back from the dead. It is generic, plain and we have seen it all before.

Horror/Mystery/Sci-FiShe comes back from the dead, well that is the horror cover nothing scary going on here we have lazy jump scares mostly. There are elements of a mystery we try to figure out what is happening but we don’t focus on that enough and the sci-fi side well we all know how bringing people back from the dead works.

SettingsOne of the few highlights in this film is keeping most of the action inside the lab because by doing this we see how they must use their intelligence to get around the problem they are facing.

Special EffectsEasy effects are used here with most being in the vision sequences.

Final ThoughtsThis does feel like a lazy horror that doesn’t click to the levels it should do even with a cast of well-respected stars.

 

Overall: Horror that doesn’t work to the levels needed.

Rating

 

 

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Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Horror – The Moth Diaries (2011)

mothDirector: Mary Harron

Writer: Mary Harron (Screenplay) Rachel Klein (Novel)

Starring: Sarah Bolger, Sarah Gadon, Lily Cole, Scott Speedman

 

Plot: Rebecca is suspicious of Ernessa, the new arrival at her boarding school. But is Rebecca just jealous of Ernessa’s bond with Lucie, or does the new girl truly possess a dark secret?

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Dull

 

Story: The Moth Diaries starts as we see best friends Rebecca (Bolger) and Lucy (Gadon) returning to boarding school catching up with all their friends after a summer back together. When Ernessa (Cole) arrives at the school she instantly strikes up a friendship with Lucy as we see early on the tension rising between the Ernessa and Rebecca.

When Rebecca starts to think Ernessa is up to something she finds herself becoming distant from her friends but soon she starts to learn they may have more in common. Rebecca becomes obsessed with proving that Ernessa is evil when strange things start happening to her class mates but how does she go about this when she believes she is a ghost.

The Moth Diaries gives us what comes off as the ghost investigation mixed with St Trinian’s. we follow how friendships get pushed and girls get up to things they shouldn’t including drugs and sneaking off for sex. The girls are all unlikable and the serious side of the tory seems to get forgotten. The whole story does come off very average and boring as you never believe any of the fear Rebecca is meant to be feeling.

 

Actor Review

 

Sarah Bolger: Rebecca has been best friends with Lucy for years at boarding school but when Ernessa arrives she starts to find tension between her friends and dealing with the suicide of her father she finds herself wondering if she will act the same in the future. Sarah is solid but doesn’t really pull you into the story enough.

Sarah Gadon: Lucy is the best friend of Rebecca who starts to become distant from Rebecca as soon Ernessa starts school. Sarah does seem to get forgotten through the film sadly and never comes off strong enough.

Lily Cole: Ernessa is the mysterious new girl in the school who seems to have the ability to control other people decisions. She seems to be targeting Rebecca and her friends making Rebecca come off as a loner but does she have an alternative motive. Lily is solid but you can see her struggle with the serious scenes.

Scott Speedman: Mr Davies is the first male teacher the school has had, he is also a big admirer of Rebecca’s father. Scott really is just a small supporting part in this film.

Support Cast: The Moth Diaries has very generic supporting cast which are all very forgettable.

Director Review: Mary HarronMary gives us what comes off like a slightly dull ghost story.

 

Horror: The Moth Diaries doesn’t have any moments of real horror happening at all.

Mystery: The Moth Diaries has a thin mystery about who Ernessa really is but otherwise you don’t really care about what is happening.

Settings: The Moth Diaries keeps nearly the whole film in and around the boarding school which works for the film.
Special Effects
: The Moth Diaries has a few but easily forgettable effects.

Suggestion: The Moth Diaries is easily one you could miss really. (Skip It)

 

Best Part: UMMM.

Worst Part: Story is very thin.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Runtime: 1 Hour 22 Minutes

Tagline: Every girl has her secrets.

 

Overall: Basic and boring ghost mystery film.

Ratingcard

 

 

Anton Yelchin Weekend – From Up on Poppy Hill (2011)

fromDirector: Goro Miyazaki

Writer: Hayao Miyazaki, Keiko Niwa (Screenplay) Chizuru Takahashi, Tetsuro Sayama (Comic)

Starring: (American Voice Talents) Anton Yelchin, Jamie Lee Curtis, Bruce Dern, Sarah Bolger, Isabelle Fuhrman, Christina Hendricks, Ron Howard

 

Plot: A group of Yokohama teens look to save their school’s clubhouse from the wrecking ball in preparations for the 1964 Tokyo Olympics.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Average Ghibli Story

 

Story: From Up on Poppy Hill starts as we meet Umi who lives on the Poppy Hills that overlook the bay in Tokyo as they have just been award the Olympics of 1964. Umi even as a school girl age runs the house with her parents away as we see how the locals are starting to campaign to save their town from change.

In the town where Umi is raised she learns of a Shun is her brother which changes all the romantic feelings she has been having as the campaign to stop change within their town continues.

From Up on Poppy Hill is a simple Ghibli film that does tell the important story of community within the small neighbourhood. There isn’t too much to make this film stand out above the more fantasy based projects which does disappoint. The film looks as fantastic as you would expect from any of the film from the studio but it does lack that punch that makes it one of the best.

 

Overall: Easy watch for the great study.

Rating60