Birth/Rebirth follows Rose Caspar (Marin Ireland), a reclusive morgue technician in search of a cure for death. When a young girl tragically dies from a rather aggressive strain of bacterial meningitis, Rose seizes the opportunity to turn theory into reality. One problem though, once the child is resurrected, she is required to harvest biological material from fetal tissue in order to maintain life and lets just say her methods are a bit strange. When the girl’s grieving mother, Nurse Celie Morales (Judy Reyes) discovers her daughter alive, they begin to work together attempting to perfect the resurrection process. After a buildup of scar tissue forces Rose to have an emergency hysterectomy, the two are forced to find other methods of stem cell harvesting and end up in a place they never imagined they would be.
This feature-length debut from director Laura Moss seems to take inspiration from the Frankenstein mythos, mixes that up with some Reanimator and unleashes an extremely unique story that had me glued to the screen. In a world of recycled ideas and tired tropes, Moss created something that feels fresh and new. Blending elements of horror and drama create a foreboding sense of dread throughout the entire film. There is gore but that only serves to accentuate an underlying ethical dilemma faced by the two women. How far will a grieving mother go to keep her daughter and who will be the voice of reason to stop her?
Personalities on display, these complex women written by Moss are brought to life by Marin Ireland and Judy Reyes who portray their characters close to perfection. The talented performances of Rose (Ireland) and Celie (Reyes) adds a heavy emotional weight to the narrative and make me question why I haven’t seen more of these two. One being the cold, calculated science-minded doctor hell-bent on finding a solution and the other an ever-loving maternal figure creating a rift between the two, only to eventually find common ground is accentuated by this talented cast.
The cinematography is hauntingly beautiful, creating a dark brooding atmosphere that is only enhanced by the score. The use of practical effects for the touches of gore adds a tone that only builds upon a story that pushes the boundaries of science, causing the viewer to question the ethical dilemma of how far is too far when it comes to keeping the ones you love around.
Birth/Rebirth is at its core, just a story of playing God juxtaposed with an odd couple type of pairing but it works. It’s a strange blend of horror and drama with a touch of dark humor. At times I found myself replaying scenes to see if I really saw what I think I saw. It made me think but still satisfied my taste for gore. It was a unique take on an older trope and I enjoyed every second of it. You can find this currently streaming on Shudder as of this writing.
Birth/Rebirth is streaming now on Shudder.