"The Lazarus Effect" belongs to the subset of horror movies that slap down scientists for playing god and messing with the natural order of things, a lineage including "The Fly" and other classics as well as a veritable cottage industry of B and C-grade pictures.

It sure isn't one of the memorable ones, despite some quality casting (Olivia Wilde, Mark Duplass, Donald Glover, Evan Peters, Sarah Bolger) and an efficient, no-frills approach that wraps things up in about 80 clean minutes.

Duplass heads a university research team doing what dastardly research teams do: developing some sort of gobbledygook way of raising the dead.

Their method works on a dog, who suddenly becomes very, very moody. So we know what's coming when circumstances demand that it be used on Wilde's Zoe.

There's just not enough to the movie, directed by David Gelb ("Jiro Dreams of Sushi") and written by Luke Dawson and Jeremy Slater. It goes through the motions without even generating sufficient energy to raise your pulse, let alone produce the kind of scares that constitute a memorable horror movie.

There are some bland chases through the darkened corridors of the underground lab, a very halfhearted attempt to raise the film's psychological profile by giving Zoe a tortured backstory.

The picture is in desperate need of a personality, a perspective, something that justifies its existence and makes it seem like more than a competent but tossed-off attempt to cash in on some popular cliches.