Review: Netflix’s “Rebirth” Is A Mind-Bending Thriller



Title: Rebirth
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Posted July 18, 2016 by

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In the new Netflix Original movie, “Rebirth”, nothing is as it seems; parts drama, comedy, thriller, and social commentary, writer/director Karl Mueller keeps you guessing at every turn while you frantically try to put together all of the pieces and stay one step ahead. My advice to you while you’re watching it is to not play detective and just enjoy the experience. A lot of it won’t make sense at first but by the time you get to the ending credits, everything will come full circle. What I love about this movie is there are a number of things you can take away from it and not every journey will be the same for every viewer. The story itself holds you at arms length for much of the film – almost alienating you entirely – before it allows you in and gets you hooked.

Kyle (Kranz) is a married man with a child, a well-paying job, and a nice house. He goes on vacations with his friends where polo shirts and champagne are a must, and every photo taken is one of everyone enjoying themselves. It’s not until his friend from college, Zack (Goldberg), shows up that he realizes maybe there’s something else out there he’s missing out on. That something else is ‘Rebirth’: a self-discovery camp where the only rule is to find yourself and transform from a social zombie into an empowered individual. For two days they will have no bosses, have no social norms to adhere to, and get anything they want just by speaking it. Don’t like the experience? You can always leave. Or can you? What was supposed to be a relaxing and exciting seminar becomes Kyle’s personal nightmare that he can’t seem to wake up from.

A lot of people will draw ties to Scientology while watching this film, and that’s one of the many things that Mueller is drawing our attention to. He is constantly bringing up the idea that our lives control us, the ‘man’ controls us, our relationships control us, yet even when we find that thing that makes us feel truly free, it’s still controlling us. The Rebirth seminar takes place in a compound that seems to have no exit but a lot of doors. Every time Kyle opens a new door hoping to escape, he finds himself facing people that are either meditating, fighting, or trying to unite bodies and souls. These experiences are all different and everyone that he meets is telling him he just walked through the wrong door; he needs to keep looking for his purpose at Rebirth. Just when it seems Kyle is about to lose himself in an experience, distant screams can be heard through the walls. People pleading for help and asking why this is happening to them keeps reminding Kyle that he wants out; that something is off about this place. Throughout the entire experience, a woman named Naomi (Whelan) keeps popping up and answering his questions with more questions; keeping him from figuring out what’s going on behind a lot of the closed doors and trying to distract him with sex and desire. If he can escape her, he may be able to escape this place.

What really keeps your emotional state changing throughout this experiecne is how well the thriller and comedy aspect blend together. It wasn’t a mistake that Kranz, Goldberg, and Steve Agee were cast in this movie: they’ve all made us laugh before so we feel safe with them and expect them to alleviate some of the tension, but they’re also the ones pushing us further down the rabbit hole of this movie. Out of everyone, however, my favorite performance was from Pat Healy (Carnage Park). His character, while only in a small part of the film, offers up some of the weirdest moments as well as the funniest. His appearance in the movie is also when everything changes from slightly dangerous to all out insanity.

“Rebirth” proves that you don’t need CGI to tell an exciting story and it also shows that independent filmmaking has finally arrived. No longer the little brother to big budget films, independent stories are often times stronger these days and tell fearless stories that don’t try to appease everyone’s tastes. Jump on Netflix now and start streaming this movie.






    I felt like this movie started out with an interesting story line and then bailed on itself. It was going somewhere, but never really got anywhere. Not a terrible movie and definitely worth a watch, but I do feel let down by how little it achieved given the potential that the first hour of the movie sets up.


      I can totally see how you felt that way. I felt the opposite, however. I thought the ending was more of a commentary on Scientology, really. How they blackmail you into joining the religion, ask for money, and in return make your life the best version possible. Think it could have been executed a little stronger though.
      – David



    Robert Canine

    Tom Cruise should have been casted in this movie. It’s his own experience.


    In fact, you serve either way to them or to anyone else, namely you do what someone else wants you to do. Most think he is free at the end and do what he wants but in fact exactly in the trap of an another organization or a community. So the plot contradicts within itself.


    Worst movie I have ever seen!! I want my time back that I wasted watching this crappy movie


    The story was quite good, but it never really got anywhere at the end. I mean, they ask Kyle for money, and at the end, it also shows how Kyle appreciates what Rebirth did to him. I don’t get. What are your views on it?



      I felt like the ending was the program taking over his life. Holding his secrets above his head almost as blackmail to donate to the program so they can keep taking over other’s lives. The reason he completely sells out and promotes what Rebirth did for him is so that they don’t completely ruin him. If he plays ball, his life will be as successful as he ever wanted; if he doesn’t, they’ll take everything from him.


    Why did Kyle allegedly end up as a big supporter of rebirth or did he do it only because of the blackmail which in such case I find it strange why he did not just go to the police. Also how did this organization got to its proportions ? By stealing people’s money ?


      Your guess is the same as mine. I’m assuming they blackmail you and tell you if you don’t go along with what they want your life will be made miserable. I would assume they get their money the way any “religion” does; those that are a part of their system donating money to the cause.

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