Birth/Rebirth (2023): Fresh Meat #17

First it was Tartan films. Then it became IFC Midnight films. Anchor Bay hopped in there at one point as well. Then I got into Scream Factory. Now I pick through Vinegar Syndrome, Severin, Arrow, Scorpion, and so many others. But one thing that always catches my eye when I go to Walmart is that Shudder logo blasted across the top of the DVD/Blu Ray. I figure, if it’s shown on an app dedicated to strictly horror, it has to be decent, right? Well, I’ve seen some clunkers, let me tell you. But that goes for all of the brands, and not just Shudder. This particular film, Birth/Rebirth, apart from the awkward title, sounded pretty interesting. Let’s roll the dice and hope we get a Yahtzee! 

Synopsis: 

A morgue technician successfully re-animates the body of a little girl, but to keep her breathing, she will need to harvest biological materials from pregnant women. When the girl’s mother, a nurse, discovers her baby alive, they enter into a deal that forces them both down a dark path of no return. 

IMDb: 6.1 

Rotten Tomatoes: 95% 

Laura Moss directed this film in their directorial debut. They based it off of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, and the film definitely wears that on its sleeve. There’s a dark sense of humor in the film that I appreciated, as one of the opening scenes has the morgue tech go to a bar to get picked up. She meets a slimeball who she very forwardly asks if he will meet her in the bathroom so she can jerk him off. I’m thinking she’s going to hurt him for being a prick, but no, she jerks him off into a cup, taking his DNA, using gloves, all while telling him not to look at her. It’s very clinical yet dry and humorous.  

The film almost plays as a female perspective re-telling of Re-Animator. Things go from normal, to tragic, to escalating horror and criminal activity. Two people in the medical field, one good and loving, the other quite mad and into illegal experiments, collide and do horrible things together in the name of science and love. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? 

The acting and directing are top notch. The woman, Judy Reyes (Scrubs, Smile), is so distraught over losing her daughter, as any of us would be, and Marin Ireland (The Boogeyman, I Am Legend, Y: The Last Man, The Umbrella Academy) plays the cold emotionless socially inept morgue attendant perfectly. The film really pulls on the heartstrings and at times, makes you forget you are watching a horror film and not a tragic heart-wrenching drama.  To see the evolution of the daughter and the lengths the two women have to go through to keep her moving in the right direction is just tough to watch. Unfortunately, much like Louis Creed in Pet Sematary, we just don’t learn from our mistakes.

Be prepared for what happens, though. There is gore. There are painful and unethical medical procedures that might just offend and shock people. But it isn’t shock for the sake of shock. It has merit. It has meaning. And as quickly as you think this is a straightforward drama, Rose, the morgue attendant, does something awful to her own or someone else’s body, all in the name of science. The one thing that is for certain is that the movie will keep you guessing as to what happens next. It’s anything but predictable.

By the way, that roll of the dice? We got a Yahtzee.

9.0/10 Stab Wounds 

 

About RetRo(n) 54 Articles
I like the 80s, slasher films, Italian directors, Evil Ed, Trash and Nancy, Ripley and Private First Class Hudson, retro crap but not SyFy crap, old school skin, Freddy and Savini, Spinell and Coscarelli, Andre Toulon, and last, but not least, Linda Blair.