I was very excited to get into this horror movie. Birth/Rebirth, mostly because I knew it had something to do with reanimation, and I’m a big fan of the cheesy classic 1985 Re-Animators. That said, I wasn’t prepared for how brutal things were going to get. A word of warning: this movie is not for the squeamish.
The film primarily focuses on two women: a pathologist, Rose (Ireland), who spends her free time doing an excellent impersonation of Dr. Frankenstein, and a maternity nurse, Celie (judy reyes), a single mother doing the best she can. After Celie’s daughter dies unexpectedly, Rose takes the opportunity to try to bring her back to life.
Learning that her daughter’s body has essentially been stolen by this mad scientist, Celie is initially horrified, then fascinated when the experiment appears to be working. As the women begin to work together to care for the reanimated boy, we see their unique approaches to medicine and science; the two characters couldn’t be more different and get along so well with each other that it’s actually kind of sweet.
The pressure is mounting as it becomes increasingly difficult for women to obtain things like stem cells and bone marrow to keep the girl alive, and the ethics of how they are obtained only grow bleaker.
As you can probably guess, there is a batch of blood, needles and medical procedures in this film. While the scares are light, there’s plenty of Cronenberg-esque body horror to keep you on the edge of your seat from him (or with your face buried in your hands).
The Sundance description reads:
Rose is a pathologist who prefers working with cadavers to social interaction. She also has an obsession: the reanimation of the dead. Celie is a maternity nurse who has built her life around her 6-year-old daughter, Lila, vivacious and talkative. One unfortunate day, her worlds collide with each other. The two women and the young woman embark on a dark path of no return in which they will be forced to face how far they are willing to go to protect what they hold most dear.
Laura Moss and Brendan J. O’Brien’s devilishly insightful script reinvents a classic horror myth with such comprehensive, contemporary understanding that it becomes something exciting, terrifying, and uniquely new. They base this chilling fantasy on the complex psychologies of its protagonists, played all too convincingly by Judy Reyes, Marin Ireland and AJ Lister. This outstanding directorial debut from Laura Moss is a wonderfully twisted story that is sure to be one of the big cerebral surprises of the year.