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Lazareth (2024) — Movie Review

Set in the eerie tranquility of a remote cabin in the woods named Lazareth, three survivors navigate through a post-apocalyptic world following the onset of a lethal virus. The story centers around Lee (Ashley Judd), who considers Lazareth not just a shelter, but a life-sustaining entity that provides food, water, and security. For her, Lazareth is "a cosmos within a cosmos".

Lee recounts stories of a bygone era, of townships and cities bustling with people and distractions, to Maeve and Imogen - two girls she fiercely protects from the outside world's horrors. As guardians tend to do, Lee shoulders the relentless challenge of ensuring safety while still instilling enough fear to deter them from venturing outside.

Remnants of a fallen civilization lay scattered in Lazareth, offering an uncanny sense of homeliness. Yet, the cabin can't entirely mask the reality of the hostile world beyond its doors. Lee dons hazmat suits for every risky supply run, underlining the persistence of the catastrophic danger outside.

Lazareth (2024) — Movie Review

The narrative also reflects humanity's essence when thrown into desperate survival mode, showcasing Lee's merciless killing of an infected stranger seeking assistance. The merciless act is mirrored in other humans who survived the virus and were stripped bare of societal veneers, resorting to any means necessary to survive.

However, the perils of the outside world are not the only challenges Lee faces. As the girls grow into their teenage years, they encounter the inherent risks of maturing. These challenges come to a head when they discover an injured boy named Owen (Asher Angel of “Shazam”), and adolescent emotions of rebelliousness and attraction enter their shielded existence.

Through effective suspense and unsettling confrontation scenes, the film's themes resonate viscerally with audiences. However, the storyline, crafted by producer/star Judd and writer/director Alec Tibaldi, tends to prioritize atmospheric tension over profound insights into the human condition in extremis.