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With their model of lean budgets and engaging stars, Blumhouse Productions has been able to roll out a series of big horror hits the last few years, from The Paranormal Activity franchise to The Purge, Sinister, and Insidious: Chapters 1 & 2. It's a trend that seems likely to continue with more franchise flicks as well as a tantalizing slate that's reaching all the way into 2015. This is where Blumhouse has set down the recently-wrapped Reawakening, which stars Olivia Wilde.
Coming Soon reports Reawakening has been renamed Lazarus, and has been set for a release date on January 30, 2015. At first look, you might think it's a bad sign that the film won't be unveiled for more than a year. But keep in mind what a heavy production slate Blumhouse has been building. Coming up they have a dozen or so films, including Paranormal Activity 5, Insidious: Chapter 3, The Purge 2, and Oujia. With so many titles to schedule, it's easy to believe that the producers at the horror movie house have a long-range strategy that's tailor-made to make the most of each freaky feature's opening.
Lazarus is looking to be a pretty intriguing pic in its own right. Penned by Luke Dawson (Shutter) and Jeremy Slater, the film centers on a group of medical research students who are working on a map of the human brain. When their research inadvertently kills one of their own, they perform an experiment to bring their late colleague back from the dead. But in doing so, they unlock a fatal force they don't understand.
Wilde is fronting the film, but she's far from its only noteworthy star. Lazarus also boasts appearances from Mark Duplass and TV stars Evan Peters (American Horror Story), Sarah Bolger (Once Upon a Time), and Donald Glover (Community). But what makes this particular horror-thriller especially compelling is its director, David Gelb. Before trying his hand at the horror-thriller genre, Gelb was making short films with the likes of Ceremony helmer Max Winkler and big names like Henry Winkler, Jeffrey Tambor, and Robert Downey Jr. But he's best known for his feature directorial debut Jiro Dreams of Sushi, a celebrated documentary about an octogenarian sushi master with a vision for food and a stern sense of discipline.
How Gelb's filmmaking experience thus far will translate into horror is beyond me, but that's the joy of Blumhouse movies. Producer Jason Blum has proven he has an eye for talent, and as invested in bringing new life and respect to the horror genre as he is, it's easy to trust that this curious conglomeration of cast and crew and genre will blend to be something scary and sensational.