Birth/Rebirth (2023) follows a morgue technician who successfully revives the body of a little girl. However, she requires a continuous supply of biological materials from pregnant women to sustain her life. When the girl’s mother, who is a nurse, discovers that her baby is alive again, they are drawn into a sinister pact that leads them down an irreversible and dark path.

People derive a sense of pleasure from watching body horror, and Laura Moss’s directed horror-thriller delivers just that through its gruesome and bloody science project conducted by Dr. Ross, where she reanimates the body of a dead child. A Roger Ebert review calls the film a ‘match made in mad-scientist heaven,’ making us squirm as we witness organs being pulled out or listen to our protagonists’ maddening conversation about how to make their scientific experiment continue.

Stopping at nothing in order to achieve success, the film establishes the characters as partners with the sole aim of keeping the baby safe, sound, and, of course, alive! Throughout the film, we see the two working as a team, learning together and subtly showing their care for one another – which leads us to learn that two people with different perspectives and backgrounds can work together effectively when facing adversity.

Exploring the complex interplay between life, death, and moral dilemmas, Moss presents a horror story that develops quite effectively. However, the third act fails to capitalize on the intriguing buildup during the compelling first hour.

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In this article, I provide a detailed explanation of what takes place in the film. Please note: The article contains spoilers; read it at your discretion!

Birth/Rebirth (2023) Plot Summary & Movie Synopsis:

The movie begins in an ambulance, where an ER nurse tells her patient to keep her eyes open. The scene then swiftly shifts to an emergency operating room, where the same nurse offers reassurance to the patient about her baby’s well-being. In response, the woman wants to know about her fate. The following scene takes us to a postmortem room where a cold-faced Dr. Rosalind Kaspar examines the deceased woman’s body. We see Rosalind dissecting the body, removing the organs, and carefully putting them inside a suitcase. Meanwhile, we also get introduced to our second protagonist, Celie, who is trying her best to save the newborn baby’s life in the incubator.

Rosalind, aka Rose, appears to be an uptight, cold-hearted workaholic with a questionable work ethic. On the other hand, Celie is a dedicated nurse who juggles her life between saving as many lives as she can and being a single mother to her adoring 6-year-old daughter, Lila (conceived via IVF).

Next, we see Rose meeting a man at the bar, and the scene funnily shifts to her collecting his semen in a vial after jerking him off. Soon enough, we learn that Rose lives in an apartment equipped with a storage fridge containing blood packages, sealed dead pigs, and a live pig on which she conducts experiments, leading us to believe that she has been performing some research. We then see her injecting the semen she acquired into herself. Is it one of her tries to get pregnant, or is she a lab rat in her own experiments?

Back at Celie’s place, she wakes up to find her daughter really sick. Pressured to prioritize her work life before anything else, Celie leaves for work after handing her ill daughter into the caring hands of her neighbor next door. Despite the worry about her child, Celie is thoroughly professional towards a pregnant woman, helping her give birth. A remarkable scene shows when the doctor wants to perform an episiotomy to make things easier for himself. However, Celie reminds the doctor that the mother’s heart is perfectly normal to try natural birthing.

After returning home, she finds the entire house in disarray, with the bathroom floor covered in blood. She receives a frantic call from the neighbor, who informs her that her daughter has been admitted to the hospital. Meanwhile, Rose gets another dead body for examination, which turns out to be Lila’s body. Lila died from bacterial meningitis, eliminating her from donating her organs to help save other children.

Celie learns about her daughter’s death, and something compels her to visit the pathology lab. However, Rose informs her that Lila’s body has been sent to the medical examiner and provides her with their contact number. When a colleague offers to take Celie home, she notices Rose struggling to put a large suitcase in the back of her car.

When Celie learns that Lila’s body is not with the medical examiner, she raises the issue with the hospital authorities, prompting them to interrogate Rose about the body’s whereabouts. Seeing Celie become furious, Rose swiftly flees from the scene, further arousing suspicion in Celie about the doctor. With no other option, Celie finds out where Rose lives and meets eye to eye when Rose returns home. She tells her she wants to know where her daughter is and will not make any trouble. Rose tries to avoid the confrontation, telling her she can’t reveal anything. However, Celie is persistent and manages to get inside her house, only to find her daughter connected to different tubes that could possibly be keeping her alive. Celie is shocked to see her daughter breathing as Rose tries to explain herself. She further assures Celie that Lila is alive and that her genetic profile makes her a perfect candidate for a treatment that Rose is working on for death.

What is Rose basically working on? 

It turns out that Rose has found a way through her experimentation (which she conducted on a pig called Murial) where the dead being can be revived. She is now working on the same treatment for Lila using the same principle that triggers cell regeneration. Since Lila’s reflexes are still intact, that could theoretically wake her up. Celie warns Rose that her daughter is not a science experiment and quickly takes up the duties of caring for her daughter.

Next, we see Celie packing her bag with clothes and moving in with Rose in her apartment. Meanwhile, Rose is ten weeks pregnant. Soon enough, we see that both Celie and Rose have developed a mutual understanding of how things would work out in keeping Lila alive and continuing with the research Rose has been doing. Their dynamic almost becomes like a couple with different viewpoints on what is best for the child. A sequence shows Rose forcefully performing a miscarriage and using the premature fetus for her experiment. Meanwhile, Celie, who often discreetly brings medical supplies from the hospital, is concerned about Rose’s well-being.

Is Rose able to bring Lila back to life? 

A Still from Birth/Rebirth (2023).
A Still from Birth/Rebirth (2023).

Progressing further with her process, Rose performs another experiment on Lila where she uses her DNA structure (the premature fetus we saw earlier), and we can see that the experiment is successful. Taking Lila out of the ventilator, the two women cautiously wait, and in the next moment, Lila organically takes her first breath (after her initial death). While Celie is amazed at the miracle, Rose is quick to correct her that this is pure science and there was a lot of hard work behind it.

When did Rose start working on her experiments? 

Rose was only 6 or 7, and her mother was a biology teacher who naturally exposed her to advanced science. During one of those excursions, she and her mother found a starfish that they brought back home. Her mother told her to cut off its arm so that little Rose could study the regeneration of the creature’s arm throughout the year. It led her to perform many such experiments to learn how living beings can regenerate themselves. We also learn that Rose’s mother died of Parkinson’s. Could that be her driving force in bringing back humans to life? Maybe!

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What happens to Rose? 

On the one hand, we see Rose bleeding while at work. When Rose doesn’t show up at her usual time, Celie calls her phone and learns from Scott that she has collapsed and is in surgery. It is when Celie notices that Lila is sitting on her bed.

Back at the hospital, after regaining consciousness, Rose learns she has developed an infection in her reproductive system. She discovers she cannot conceive anymore when the doctor shows her the medical chart. Upon returning home, Rose realizes that the batch (fetus experiment) she created has expired, making all her work go down the drain. It is when she sees Lila, and Celie tells her she woke up on her own. To which she says that the girl shouldn’t be awake and faints.

Later, while Celie re-does Rose’s stitches, the two women discuss Lila’s latest development, to which Rose claims that she is regenerating faster than she is supposed to. Since they have only a limited amount of serums (obtained from fetal tissue) that could last a few weeks, Celie advises that she can get more. Since she can’t conceive anymore, they must find another way to do it.

What plan do Rose and Celie come up with?

When Celie questions if Rose can use her to develop the serum, she explains that anything from her body can potentially kill Lila. The donor must match Lila’s blood type, which is rare. When Celie reminds Rose about the organ donor registry, she immediately rushes to the office to find more answers. Upon returning home, Rose finds Lila watching TV and realizes the little girl is making fast developments. Rose then tells Celie that she found a match in a woman named Emily Parker, who is in her second trimester, and she can use her amniotic fluid for the time being. Celie finds this idea awful but eventually gives in.

The following day, when Emily turns up for her routine check-up, Celie manages to steal the fluid. Upon returning home, she sees Rose playing with Lila, and we can clearly see the little girl is more inclined towards Rose than her mother. Next, we see Rose’s plan to make Emily’s amnio results inconclusive until they have access to the placenta that could help them through the entire year. While watching her daughter’s development progress on the video, Celie finds a cassette showing Rose’s many attempts to perform her experiments on her mother. Later, Celie learns that Emily has decided to deliver her baby at a different hospital, worrying both of them. When Lila is left unattended, the girl goes to Murial to pet him, but her intrusive thoughts make her kill the pig instead.

In the following scenes, we learn the only reason Lila is unresponsive is that her brain cannot communicate with her entire body because of her spine. Rose then proposes to Celie to perform a bone marrow aspiration on her – helping them compensate for the lack of serum. We then see Lila making little progress. However, the treatment eventually turns towards unsuccessful outcomes.

Birth/Rebirth (2023) Movie Ending, Explained: 

Is Lila alive?

Rose advises Celie to spend as much time with her daughter as possible. Meanwhile, she also faces scrutiny from her senior about getting her act together. When the treatment finally stops working, Lila breathes her last. However, Celie is still persistent in finding a solution, putting her daughter’s corpse inside the refrigerator and then visiting Emily Parker.

At Emily’s place, Celie puts something in her tea that induces premature labor. She calls the ER, and the scene returns to the opening shot, our introduction to Celie. Meanwhile, Celie tells Rose to go to the pathology lab when she receives repetitive calls about her whereabouts. Their plan to obtain the placenta eventually leads to Emily’s untimely death. The ending of Birth/Rebirth shows the two women finally conducting a procedure on Lila using the placenta, bringing her back to life yet again.

Read More: Birth/Rebirth (2023) Movie Review: A 21st-Century Take on the Dr. Frankenstein Character Who Sets the Bar Too High For Body Horror

Birth/Rebirth (2023) Movie Trailer

Birth/Rebirth (2023) Movie Links: IMDbRotten TomatoesWikipedia
Birth/Rebirth (2023) Movie Cast: Marin Ireland, Judy Reyes, A.J. Lister, Breeda Wool, LaChanze
Where to watch Birth/Rebirth

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