Ben Garvey (Paul Walker) is a reformed criminal who just finished his last day on parole. A loving father and devoted husband Ben unexpectedly loses his job because of his criminal past. Out of work and in need of desperate cash he turns to his brother to rob a laboratory full of gold dust. However the heist goes horribly wrong which results in the death of his brother and two other people. Ben is sentenced to death by lethal injection however after the execution he wakes up near a psychiatric hospital in a small Oregon town. He is told that he has been given a second chance from God himself and must live a new life as a groundskeepers at the local psychiatric hospital. Now a man ravaged by seclusion and the disbelief that he cheated death. However this psychiatric Oregon hospital is a bearer of secrets as Ben’s own sanity and faith is questioned.
The Lazarus Project is a chilling combination of drama and psychological thriller which is the most important fundamentals of a mystery genre. The constant eerie notion clouds our judgment as we begin to question the so called guardian angel that watches over Ben. A medical or psychiatric experiment begins to unravel in Ben’s quest to uncover the truth. However the journey to uncover the veracity is a nightmarish and menacing endeavour that is full of visions of demons or perhaps hallucinations. The core theme of The Lazarus Project is placed on the emphasis on cheating death, which makes for a brilliant relation to the Biblical story of Lazarus of Bethany found in the Gospel of John.
An intriguing story that is full of suspense and interrogations towards the protagonist’s state of mind or perhaps soul. Throughout the film we constantly question the sanity of Ben or the true intentions of the hospital. A Lazarus Project relation to redemption comes to play with Ben’s freewill and venture to uncover scientific or religious truths. The final conclusion is an outcome that leaves us with a gripping narrative that continuously plays tricks with our own minds and beliefs.
Director John Glenn shows a thrillingly frightening voyage of a man who is taken away from his loved ones and now faces a mystical obstacle and now must explore the struggle of his own state of mind and humanity. Even though the film does drag on, the question “is he nuts or does God exits?” comes to mind frequently. Garvey’s performance as a man whose faith and sanity is put to the test shows a raw performance that keeps the plot moving. The Lazarus Project is a mystical film full of surreal visions and religious tyranny. Although this is a film that went straight to DVD, it certainly deserves more recognition.