The Movie Waffler New Release Review [Digital/DVD/VOD] - REBORN | The Movie Waffler

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New Release Review [Digital/DVD/VOD] - REBORN

reborn movie review
A teenager with the power to manipulate electricity goes searching for her mother, a horror actress.

Review by Benjamin Poole

Directed by: Julian Richards

Starring: Kayleigh Gilbert, Barbara Crampton, Michael Pare, Chaz Bono, Rae Dawn Chong, Monte Markham, Peter Bogdanovich

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Working from a script by Michael Mahin, Julian RichardsReborn begins in glorious disgrace. With its bouquet of garish lighting and bad taste top notes, this horror throwback seems to offer the sleazy promise of an '80s straight-to-video vintage. Hence, we open with Chaz Bono as a buntyman hospital mortician taking pictures of his dead female subjects for his own indecent reasons (he also has a hearing aid: remember the hearing aid). In scenes that are blocked with a keen prurience, we see a sweaty, grinning Chaz leering over a statuesque corpse whose monumental breasts and clumsily stapled autopsy wound are picked out by the chiaroscuro gloom of the mise-en-scene. A storm rages outside, adding to the pantomime malevolence: a neat plot contrivance which allows the hospital to go and get struck by a bit of lightning. The freak climate somehow manages to reanimate the stillborn body of a little baby girl discarded in the morgue (told you it was tasteless!). Not knowing what else to do, Chaz takes the mewling kid home…


reborn movie review

Jump to 16 years later. We are in Hollywood (I am always surprised by how unappealing street level Hollywood looks on film: a tawdriness that serves to suit Reborn’s general grubbiness) wherein the self-consciously '80s styling is duly picked up. Here’s Barbara Crampton as an out of work horror actress scrambling to stay in the game. Turns out that it is coming up to the anniversary of the time when her pregnancy was delivered as still born… Yes, that very same kid which the bad weather reanimated over a decade and a half ago! Babs has no idea about this, and still experiences the sensations of guilt and grief that characterise such tragedies (this is where Reborn starts to fall apart a bit: contrasting the cartoon grimness of Chaz with the very real, human emotions La Crampton is selling).

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That little baby is now a 16-year-old girl (Tess, played by Kayleigh Gilbert - good), who lives in a grotty flat with Chaz in the dark part of town. Like that old perv in the Neil Diamond song, Chaz has at least had the fortitude to hold off noncing up his adopted daughter until she is ‘of age’. Emboldened, he tries his hand during the world’s grimmest birthday meal and due to the stress of her adopted father attempting to sexually abuse her, Tess develops special powers: electrical powers, like those of the storm which once served to reanimate her. Tess then makes Chaz’s hearing aid (remember!) blow up using her voltaic mind and kills him to death.


reborn movie review

You would expect a film about a girl with electrical powers and starring the son of Actual Cher along with Barbara Crampton to be more camp fun than what it is, which is unfortunately a bit of a slog, all told. Crampton goes from audition to audition and mourns her child, while Tess attempts to track her down and kills any rando who gets in the way via electrically themed murders. It sort of reminded me of that new Chucky film in a way: this savant tyke knocking about with severe abandonment issues and the ability to control tech. Part of the problem is that we know far more than Crampton does about the situation, and for most of the running time we’re simply waiting for her to catch up, which she inevitably does in rather anticlimactic scenes.


reborn movie review

However, there is suspense generated in another, more specifically weird, manner in Reborn. Throughout the film, Babs and the rest of the wannabes fuss and fight over the ongoing casting process for a new Peter Bogdanovich film. Every so often the venerable movie brat gets a name drop, and it's with such persistence that you begin to wonder: will we see a glimpse of that famous cravat and hang dog expression? Surely not?! Well Wafflers, far be it for me to let the cat out of the Bogdanovich! To find out if it does indeed feature a cameo of the director of Targets and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers: Runnin' Down a Dream, then check out Reborn on VOD from 4th May.

Reborn is on UK Digital/VOD May 4th and DVD May 11th.




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