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Available now on digital, the feature length debut from director Laura Moss, Birth/Rebirth is a modernised riff on a very familiar horror sub-genre (see your Re-Animator’s & Pet Sematary’s). It is a decent, suitably disturbing and grisly affair that certainly has its shocking moments and revels in its moral ambiguity. It is just a shame that it is held back by a repetitive structure, lack of tense escalation due to pacing and occasional tonal imbalance.


Birth/Rebirth sees a morgue technician successfully reanimate 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.


As previously mentioned, resurrecting the dead is very familiar territory for the horror genre and whilst the execution here may be more subdued and grounded than the campy, schlock fuelled exaggeration of the 80’s, its realistic take on the evil scientist formula is suitably disturbing and the themes of motherhood and the distressing lengths people will go for their child are explored effectively. It’s just a shame that the film rarely escalates into full blown thrills and follows a sturdy if slow pace that certainly makes the 100 minutes noticeable.


There are some suitably gnarly and stomach churning practical effects and props as well as effectively presented medically accurate squelchy bits. The film has a moody, sickly, clinical colour palette that adds a layer of discomfort to the proceedings. Both Judy Reyes (Scrubs) and Marin Ireland (Hell or High Water) give committed performances here, with the former’s love and hope for her daughter leading her to more reckless actions and the latter’s ghostly, creepy and obsessive need to experiment with life after death.

Birth/Rebirth is certainly worth a peek for genre fans, however I feel like it could have doubled down on some of its ideas and thrills. The sickly, clinical feel to the film is palpable and the leads are very good, however the pacing, repetitive presentation and tonal swings don’t always land.


Rating Birth/Rebirth


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