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"The Lazarus Project" aka "The Heaven Project" is one of those straight-to-DVD releases, which was okay i guess, though after viewing it, I felt this was a lot better than some other actual cinematic releases that were pure drivel.

Paul Walker [of The Fast and the Furious] plays Ben Garvey, an ex-con who is just getting his life back on track with a beautiful, supportive wife [Piper Perabo] and young daughter. But his past catches up with him and his no-gooder brother comes back into his life with a solution - robbery - well, things go terribly awry resulting in fatalities, and Ben is left to shoulder the guilt and blame. He is sentenced to die by lethal injection and that is when the movie actually begins.

Ben finds himself getting a sort of 'reprieve' from death and is whisked away to an psychiatric facility somewhere out in the boondocks and is given the job of groundskeeper - the people that he comes into contact are all either strange or sinister or both - the priest Ezra [Bob Gunton]who runs the facility, Robbie [Malcolm Goodwin] a mentally challenged patient, William [Tony Curran] a violent inmate, psychiatrist Julie [Linda Cardellini] who warms up to Ben very quickly, and a stranger [Lambert Wilson] who pops up at the most inopportune times to warn Ben that something's afoot.

The movie takes its time to unfold, but what carries this movie through is not just the storytelling, with its unique premise, but Paul Walker's performance - I know, he's not exactly known for his acting chops, but he does a pretty decent job here of lending credibility to his character. I actually came to care about what happened to Ben in this movie. All in all, this was a decent thriller with a good premise.
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on March 8, 2010
In Dallas, Texas, the family man Ben Garvey is on probation but he is a hard worker of the Fort Garry Brewery Company and lives a simple life with his beloved wife Lisa and their daughter Katie. When his probation period finishes, Ben's brother Rick visits him after being released from prison and invites Ben to heist 12 kg of gold in dust from a laboratory. Ben refuses the invitation but he is fired from his job because of his record; he decides to join Ricky and his partner Phelps in the robbery. However things go wrong and Ricky, Phelps and a security guard die in the heist and Ben is sentenced to death for the murders. After his execution through lethal injection, Ben awakes working as housekeeper of the Monte Angel community in Dundee, Oregon, for Father Ezra, who explains to him that his past life is gone and now he is having a second chance. However he should never cross the boundaries of the location, otherwise he would die. Ben feels confused with the weird situation but he can not forget Lisa and Katie and forces Ezra to give a plausible explanation to him. But while working in the garden, Ben finds a frisby on the grass; he investigates and discloses the secret of the facility. A psychological thriller that will make you think from the the beginning to the end. Although a bit slow in the first parts to the middle, thats why its a psychological thriller, the climax to the end compensated for it. The lines are well delivered, a good script, good acting all in all, a good movie.
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VINE VOICEon October 17, 2008
A trip of a film...I thought about how to title this film the whole time I was watching it...the best I could come up with is; What a Trip..a truly psychological ride of (in the end) an anti-smoking film.

Films like these can be debated for a long time as to when reality blurs into fiction and if the film actually ever occurs at certain points. I saw this as an approachable film with little recognition that can be attained by the masses. Bob Gunton. Piper Perabo and Brooklynn Proulx all perform in a film that I fear will be forgotten in the mass of subpar indie films coming out this quarter.

Nothing should be explained much beyond a man experiencing a strange life of getting second chances, numerology, psychiatric misappropriation, innocent family love, and a beautiful filming location character of Canada. This is the second film in as many days (coming out this week) that shows what a splendor our Northern neighbor has.

I was pleasantly surprised by the score, content and sublime symbolism that permeates this piece. Many critics have afforded their worthless opinions of how this film failed because of PW, but I would say give this film a chance and maybe you will be entertained by a solid psychological thriller worth watching more than once. Two deleted scenes are included to add some character content, but nothing else to speak of for the DVD. The film quality is good, and between this and Bobby Z, PW has proven he has range.
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on December 23, 2008
I was surprised how good this movie was. A bit of a shame it wasn't released in theaters while other worse films were. The Lazarus Project isn't amazing, but it nails it's goal as a psychological thriller. Definitely worth seeing, and if you're just looking for a psychological thriller you haven't seen, and won't be disappointed by, get this.

The plot twists are managed very well; you don't know what is really going on until near the end. I thought the final scene was a bit over the top, but the overall experience of watching the movie was suspensful and kept me engaged to want to see what was going to happen next, and care for the main character, Ben. I was hoping he'd remember this or that, etc. Other than that very last scene, I can't think of any other faults with the movie at doesn't bite off more than it can chew. It isn't Se7en, and it doesn't try to be. A lot of movies ruin themselves like that.

Anyway, this is a good movie. Check it out.
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on June 8, 2011
Paul Walker did a good job in this movie, but the movie itself was lacking a little something more. The build up to the resolution was good, but it just seemed that once you find out what was going on, it ended. The resolution could've had a little more meat to its bones. There was so much potential there. Better writers would've made this movie great!

SPOILER ALERT: The one aspect that I just can't come to terms with, is Ben's ability to "hack" into the computer without using a password. I'm sorry, but that was just NOT believable. There's no way that he had to break into a building or a room, then have full access to the computer WITHOUT password protection. Yeah, that's completely BS, especially with the information that was on that computer. They could've ended the movie better as well. There's NO WAY that those guys would let Ben just "walk" without some sort of exciting pursuit, changing of identity, moving or running...something. Maybe they are setting up for a sequel? You never know these days...
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on September 20, 2015
This movie i picked up because i thought it was Lazarus Effect,however i found myself intrigued by the story. The movie starts off with Paul Walker with his family,then he gets fired(because of his prior police record) & his brother gets out of jail convieniently to offer his brother(Walker) to a great heist of 30 pounds of untraceable gold dust. When he picks up the offer he finds his brother is in debt and if the job does not get done Walkers brother will be killed. So needless to say they attempt the heist,a girl working flips the silent alarm & the cops come and shoot his brother as well as the debtor and an innocent worker. Then he is sent to prison to be executed,next thing you know he wakes up in Oregon(he was living in Texas with the wife and daughter) as the caretaker for a sanitarium. He keeps trying to leave and is told by strangers on the ground not to leave or he will die. He gets on a bus,then gets off and it crashes. So it is somewhat of a warning,or so he thinks. He talks to a troubled patient telling him that there are eyes on him at all times,he starts to dig up clues. He keeps finding a stick man picture etched into skin,and inbetween logs and stuff. He sees a dog and takes him in then next thing you know he wakes up with the head of this "sanitarium" tells him his wife never existed,he is a patient and not a caretaker. So it is a mind trip(sorta like Shutter Island) but he keeps scratching his arm, which has an implanted computer chip in him which monitors his every move. At the end he realizes that he is part of an elaborate scheme to take troubled people and brainwash them into believing a different reality. Walker freaks out and then decides too leave the sanitarium that reprograms brains to make them better. The way that the film ends is he just goes home to his wife and kids. To me the film was anticlimactic,i was hoping there would be more to it. All in all if you like psychological thrillers go get it or watch it. 3 stars in my opinion.
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on March 20, 2012
Poignant, contemplative, well-rounded film with top-notch acting, beautiful cinematography, and stirring soundtrack. I am surprised that a film of this caliber was not released in the theaters. I would love to see more of this kind of work.
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on February 16, 2013
This movie is an excellent example of the amazing capability that Paul Walker has as an actor. It is not an easy movie to watch, some of it is quite disturbing and yet he lets his character flow so smoothly. The cast that plays with him works well and the story has a happy ending. Paul should be given more opportunities to show his acting talent in more serious roles (Oscar winning type of roles). I recommend this movie to those who like to watch a good thriller unfold.
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on February 24, 2015
I'll start this review off saying that I am a huge Paul Walker fan - they are a few movies of his that are flat out bad, but this isn't one of them (I would stay away from Running Scared). I usually pretty easy to entertain as well - this movie is a little predictable, but I still enjoyed it - and it has me wanting to see The Lazarus Effect coming out this week (the two movies are not related, but similar storyline I would imagine - bringing someone back to life).
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on January 7, 2012
*Possible spoilers*

"The Lazarus Project" is a movie with an intriguing premise, but a not so intriguing execution. It is about Ben Garvey (Paul Walker), an ex con, who tries to live a straight life after his probation has finally ended, but who gets laid off from his job because of his criminal background and, desperate for money to support his family, agrees to go on a heist with his brother and steal gold in dust from a laboratory. The mission goes awfully wrong, however, and three people end up dead, except for Ben - who survived only because he was in the back packing up the stuff. Somehow the jury convicts him for being responsible for the deaths of those three people and he is sentenced to death. When he wakes up, he finds himself in the town of Dundee, Oregon, working as groundskeepers and being told that he needs to leave his past life behind and move forward. Strange things start happening and that is where the story unfolds.

As mentioned above, while this was an interesting story with a truly titillating premise, it was poorly executed and Ben wasnt the the only one for whom things didnt quite add up. There were just a lot of inconsistencies in there and huge plot holes that ultimately resulted in making this a totally unbelievable story.

First and foremost, no one acts like you'd expect them. I mean who gets executed, even in the state of Texass, for accessory to second degree murder and fails ALL appeals? Ben Garvey didnt even pull the trigger, he didnt even have a gun, yet he gets _executed_ and everyone talks about what a horrible criminal he is who needs rehabilitation - like he was some serial killer or rapist or some other demented violent offender, even though clearly he went stealing out of necessity and not because he is a psycho. Speaking of which: who turns to a life of crime and risks serious incarceration and losing his family because he lost his job. Why didnt he just collect unemployment and went talking to his parole officer to find him a job? That just didnt make sense. Maybe that wasnt an option but if that is the case, the writers should have somehow put that in there instead of just ignoring it and hoping it will go unnoticed.

It is a sign of bad acting and bad writing when characters in movies dont behave like you would expect a person in real life to behave. Yes we all know this is a movie but some resemblance to reality helps increasing the credibility and quality of said movie. I mean, who greets a person they believe dead and whose funeral they attended, like he just came back from vacation? If someone I believed dead stood at my door, I would pass out, not give them a tender hug.

If this is a rehabilitation facility, does that mean an entire town has been dedicated to it? Since there were no guards and everyone could roam around freely and had internet access etc., how did they imagine to shield people from their old lives? Since the the mother and daughter at the cafe are the same mother and daughter in the second set up video about real estate, then the whole town must have been in on this. But, how is all this funded? It seems like a huge undertaking and you do wonder who would fund such a thing, especially in a state that is notorious for harsh incarcerations and where people are apparently executed for robbery.

There seem to be hidden cameras everywhere but if they had a camera in there filming him, wouldnt they have found the picture that slipped under the cabinet? How is it rehabilitation to brainwash and manipulate a person into believing they are insane and imagined it all? How is that helping anyone? The exchange Garvey has with the project leader in the end was unintelligent and touched the issue of rehabilitation of criminals only superficially. In fact, it was done so poorly, it made people advocating for rehabilitation of criminals versus execution appear to be nothing but insane, deluded nut jobs themselves. That certainly didnt help the cause or accurately outline the debate. And what's up with the "demon" we see in the shadows? Arr you telling me that people in the business of rehabilitating criminals put on costumes and lurk on dark corners to scare the "inmates" from leaving by making them believe some demon will go after them if they leave town?

This movie is full of such inconsistencies and a lot of it just didnt make sense. Suspending disbelief is ok, but not to this degree. This was an interesting and suspenseful movie but I think it didnt do a good job at creating an even semi-solid, coherent and believable movie without gaping plot holes. I dont get why anyone would give this 4 or 5 stars as the immense plot holes and inconsistencies were staggering.
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