If you’ve seen a horror movie over the past decade, there’s a solid chance Jason Blum had a hand in making it happen. His latest flick is The Lazarus Effect, and it looks like a very fun riff on Flatliners.
Blum (Sinister, Insidious, The Purge, etc.) chatted with Collider about The Lazarus Effect, which takes more than a few cues from the 1990 sci-fi classic Flatliners. The film opened this past weekend, and Blum said he was attracted to the script — but initially skeptical of director David Gelb and his resume of documentary work. But, after stars Mark Duplass and Olivia Wilde showed interest, he rolled the dice and gave it the green light.
Here’s an excerpt from Blum’s comments about the film:
“This particular script we did because when we read it, it reminded me of Flatliners, it reminds people of Flatliners, and that’s a movie that I loved. And that kind of movie has kind of gone out of fashion so I thought it would be fun to try and bring that back into vogue in some way. So, I really felt like Lazarus does that. The short answer to your question is because it felt different, but the longer answer is because it felt like a genre we haven’t seen for a while and hopefully will make that genre cool again.
It was a hard sell for me to want to do the movie with him. The movie came with David, so we didn’t hire him, the script came to us attached with David. I was very skeptical about it, but what put me over the edge from developing it with David to deciding to make it with David is we set him up with Mark [Duplass] and Olivia [Wilde] in separate meetings, and both of those actors came out the meetings and said they wanted to do the movie. That made me think that this guy could direct the movie. Now, I’ll tell you, I’ve had that experience and then the person can’t direct the movie, so that’s not a foolproof method, but it was a good indication, and in this one it worked out and David did an awesome job. It’s always hard on your first movie, and he did a great job, so I was really pleased with that, but it was a big risk.”
Blum’s production house has built a gold mine out of mid-budget horror fare, and it's led to some breakout hits and major franchises over the years. Heck, almost every major horror hit over the past decade had Blum’s fingerprints on it. So how do they keep the factory running? According to Blum, it's all about trying to find a twist on the old formulas and keep it fresh:
“I think it’s important as someone who – when I think about running my business, I think one thing that’s important is not to sit back on the successes you’ve had, so one thing I’m conscious of doing is not saying, 'Get me the next Insidious, get me the next script like Sinister, get me the next big idea like The Purge.' I think that kind of thinking is very anti-creative, so I try and say 'get me the next script that feels like none of those movies,' like Lazarus.
But one of the rules I don’t like to break is we still do – 95 percent of our movies are low budget. We’re offered bigger, larger budget movies to produce a lot, and we don’t do them. That’s not to say there aren’t exceptions, there are a few exceptions, but I try and stick by the rules that produce what I think is the highest quality, most innovative work and try and let the rules go that make us feel like we’re retreading.”
Love ‘em or hate ‘em, the Blumhouse model is a huge part of the horror landscape these days. Blum spotted a niche and filled it (and made it way bigger in the process). What’s your take on Blum’s mid-budget horror fare?