Review: ‘Lazareth’

Ashley Judd’s Newest Apocalyptic Thriller Never Finds Its Footing 

We all lived through the pandemic and the fear that surrounded it for most, especially in the beginning. Luckily for us, as time went on things went back to pretty much normal. Lee (Ashley Judd) and her two nieces Maeve (Sarah Pidgeon) and Imogen (Katie Douglas) were not so lucky in Lazareth. A deadly virus has spread, killing many in its wake including Maeve and Imogen’s parents. Lee adopts them and vows that they’ll survive this. To do so, they must stay in the only place that’s safe – a remote cabin in the woods they call Lazareth.

10 years later and Lee has kept her promise, all thanks to Lazareth. It is the ultimate sanctuary and Lee will do everything she can to make sure it stays that way. She is the only one to go to town for supplies – they don’t need to witness the horrors there. The girls of course immediately disinfect her when she gets back. Although Lee taught the girls that they all have a voice and a vote, it’s still somehow Lee’s way. That is until Owen (Asher Angel) enters the picture. Maeve stumbles upon him as he is alone and injured in the woods. The girls bring him back to Lazareth to try and heal his life-threatening wounds. Little do they know what caused those wounds, and who might be out looking for Owen, and Lazareth.

Alec Tibaldi is the brain trust behind the film having both written and directed Lazareth. Lazareth is Tibaldi’s third feature length film in the director’s chair. Serving in both roles is something he is used to as he has written every film he has directed. Even the topic of families isolating from the outside world is familiar for Tibaldi – his 2019 film Spiral Farm dealing with similar themes.

Lazareth features several interesting landscape shots that Tibaldi mixes into the film. They add an even greater element of isolation to the characters. How small we all are in the massive world we live in. Judd’s narration drives the film, giving it a few welcomed nudges forward. One of Lazareth’s main issues is the characters and our inability to truly connect or care what happens to them. There is something almost unnatural and robotic to them and their actions. It takes away from the atmosphere and believability of the film. You find yourself spending more time questioning why someone would act a certain way versus enjoying what you are watching.

The post-apocalyptic survival tale is one that we have now seen time and time again. Sure, sometimes you can’t see, other times you can’t make a noise, and then there are times when there is a really loud noise. It can be whole families, individuals, or groups of strangers coming together to survive. The world as we know it could end because of monsters, or was it aliens, maybe a virus, or even an unknown reason. No matter how you dice it, the premise for a lot of these stories is very similar. Lazareth is no exception. There is a minor “twist” or two, but it basically stays on the expected path. I hesitate to even call it a twist when it can be seen a mile away. When the dust settles, Lazareth is a forgettable entry into an already crowded genre and is not worth a watch.

Lazareth is available now in select theaters and VOD.