BIRTH/REBIRTH (2023) Reviews of young Frankenstein sci-fi horror

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‘Every body has potential’
Birth/Rebirth is a 2023 American sci-fi horror film about a morgue technician who successfully reanimates the body of a little girl. In publicity, the title is often stylised as birth/rebirth.

Directed by Laura Moss from a screenplay co-written with Brendan J. O’Brien. Produced by Mali Elfman and David Grove Churchill Viste. Executive produced by Jordan Barker and Brendan J. O’Brien.

The Shudder production stars Judy Reyes, Marin Ireland, Breeda Wool, Monique Gabriela Curnen, LaChanze, Richard Gallagher, A.J. Lister, Sarah Dacey-Charles, Grant Harrison, Eric Yang, Rina Mejia and Lynden Miles Ley.

Rose (Marin Ireland) is a pathologist who prefers working with corpses over social interaction. She also has an obsession — the reanimation of the dead. Celie (Judy Reyes) is a maternity nurse who has built her life around her bouncy, chatterbox six-year-old daughter, Lila (A.J. Lister).

When one tragic night, Lila suddenly falls ill and dies, the two women’s worlds crash into each other. They embark on a dark path of no return where they will be forced to confront how far they are willing to go to protect what they hold most dear…

“This standout directorial debut from Laura Moss reimagines Mary Shelley’s classic horror myth Frankenstein with such a contemporary understanding that it becomes something exciting, terrifying, and singularly new.”


Release date:
Birth/Rebirth had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2023. In the US,  the movie will be released by IFC Films theatrically on August 18, 2023, before it streams on Shudder.

“We often feel like we’re just in a place that we really don’t want to be, especially as the women discover they’re going to need to do some extreme things to keep their project alive. It’s not quite a new Frankenstein, but it’s a fascinatingly maternal riff on what we risk when we play with life and death: the very thing that makes us human.”

” …it moves between its emotional moods — pain, humor, danger, love — with the deft skill of a parent for whom a child’s unpredictable chaos is a fact of the everyday. The movie is freaky. But it never feigns to become a mere freakshow. It works, in part, because it hurts. It works because it defers that hurt until, at long last, it cannot be avoided.” Rolling Stone

“Obviously illegal, more than likely immoral and unethical (no parental consent), Rose’s actions are difficult to justify by any rationale beyond an obligatory, facile “for science,” but it’s Celie — and what she represents, i.e., pure maternal instinct — that serves first as a counter-balance and later a complement to Rose’s otherwise unforgivable actions.” Screen Anarchy

“Often restricted by its subtlety and misplaced suspense, the film struggles to overcome its inability to commit to the genre. Consequently, it feels underwhelming despite the script being full of promise. Birth/Rebirth contains wonderful performances from Ireland and Reyes. But Moss’s directorial debut needs quite a bit more than stunning performances to leave a lasting impression.” Screen Rant

“The fantastic performances from Reyes and Ireland and how well their characters’ differing perspectives mesh makes birth/rebirth a genuinely touching spin on the Frankenstein concept. Though its depictions of medical violence appear at arm’s length from the characters, Moss always retains the humanity of everyone involved. The performances’ potency and the screenplay’s wittiness breathe some life into a tired formula…” Tilt

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