Celie (Judy Reyes) is a single mother who works full-time as a nurse. At the same hospital is Dr. Rose Casper (Marin Ireland), a morgue technician who is working in the field of pathology. Even though they work at the same hospital, Celie and Dr. Rose Casper are strangers. When Celie’s daughter unexpectedly dies, Celie is both heartbroken and devastated. She soon becomes increasingly suspicious and frustrated when the hospital has no idea where her daughter’s body is located.
Soon, Celie learns a dark secret about Dr. Rose Casper. When Dr. Rose Casper isn’t working, she is secretly trying to find a way to revive the dead. Because Celie’s daughter was an organ donor, Dr. Rose Casper decided to use her body and attempt to restore her to life. When Celie learns what Dr. Rose Casper has been up to, the pair soon decide to work together. However, bringing back someone from the dead is not such an easy task, and both women will be required to make massive sacrifices while continuing to keep the experiment top secret.
Birth/Rebirth, directed by Laura Moss, is best described as a horror and drama film. When it comes to the horror aspect, the film is quite gruesome in the visuals, and many scenes are unsettling. After all, the film is centred around a woman who lost a child and is willing to do anything to bring her back. Both Celie and Dr Rose Casper are required to do plenty of unspeakable things, and I don’t just mean stealing medical supplies. They also need to steal live samples from pregnant women or body parts from those who have already passed away. The drama aspect, I felt, was mostly on point, and its themes, at times, are, again, often uncomfortable and gripping.
For the leading characters, it’s evident Celie won’t back down until her world is complete as it once was. The performance of actress Judy Reyes was great, and she was convincing both as a skilled nurse and a passionate mother. Reyes delivered drama at an intense level; however, at times, I did feel her character lacked some emotion, particularly surrounding her daughter’s death. Dr. Rose Casper, played by Marin Ireland, differs from Celie as a character. She is more knowledgeable in the medical field. She’s also more quirky, snappy, and blunt, and, more importantly, she has never been a mother to a child before. The character does make some terrific developments as the film progresses forward.
The soundtrack by Ariel Marx consists of eerie music, and, based on how unsettling the story is, the music was a perfect fit for the entire runtime. As for issues with the film, the storyline is slightly repetitive, and most outcomes are predictable. Watching our two leads discover new roadblocks on repeat to gain their medical dreams does get worn out by the third act, and even when Celie’s daughter does open her eyes and awaken after death, audiences will know instantly that more challenges are right around the corner. The ending was also weak for me. Simply put, it ended abruptly and unexpectedly, and I felt both robbed and dissatisfied with the conclusion and finale.
Overall, while delivering the vibes of Frankenstein or Reanimator, Birth/Rebirth succeeds at bringing something new with its tension and unsettling visuals, including the level of gore. The storyline is fascinating yet somewhat repetitive, with a predictable third act. Still, it confidently poses a question for viewers to ponder: how far would you go to resurrect a loved one? While the characters worked well together with their different personalities, sadly, some scenes that were genuinely devastating to witness seemed to lack emotion. Even more disappointing are the final moments and conclusion, which felt abrupt, unrewarding, and incomplete given the horrifying journey.