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Review Rebirth (2016): Shows you how cults / self help groups operate. Does that make it a mind bending thriller? No, I am afraid not!

genre: thriller

Last weekend I was browsing Netflix and came across this title and was curious. So I checked out the few reviews that were present and they were pretty positive. When a reviewer claimed that it was a mind bending thriller and that it had a twist at the end I was sold. (There is a slight possibility that this review contains mild spoilers. Mind you if am very willing to spoil stuff without hiding it or warning you properly it means that it doesn't matter and that you shouldn't be watching the film in the first place. This could mean that now having warned you that I am implying you should be watching the film. Please don't. )

I was pretty intrigued in the beginning. It was obvious that main character Kyle played by Fran Kranz (The Cabin in the Woods and Dollhouse) was going through the motions and not truly living or enjoying his life. Then an old friend called Zack (played by Adam Goldberg) pops in unannounced and tells him that he just had the greatest experience of his life and that he wants Kyle to join him to also get that experience. At this point the story could have gone into several directions. I myself was expecting something like The Game with Michael Douglas. But nothing as sophisticated and fancy like that. At one point it becomes painfully obvious that this whole Rebirth thing is nothing more than a seminar where they point out to you that you have been living the wrong way and they will help you change it. From this moment the film gets tedious and rather annoying. I am very willing to believe that the people they have chosen to be part of this seminar, are more susceptible and open to so called new ideas and rules. But I don't think someone like me would fall for their ploy. I already would be suspicious of my old friend suddenly visiting. Why is he here? What does he want? Yes, I am paranoid that way. Besides that I would be real curious and critical of the proposal. I would want to know the finer details of what exactly would be going on and why I was considered. And if the answers would remain to be mysterious and vague I would politely refuse the invitation and would tell my old friend to buzz off. (I would use stronger language but I want to keep things clean as much as possible. You get the drift.) Point is that I would not be that gullible. Oh yes, I am aware that they claim that everyone can become a victim. Sometimes it's true that even the strongest of people are in periods of their life that they feel less sure and confident who at that time can be talked into things. However there are people who have certain characteristics who even then would be able to resist. Like stubbornness and determination. Or simply not giving a damn about being social.  In the film apart from Kyle there is no one else who stands up to the events they are subjected to. I have a hard time believing that since I am sure there are enough people out there who simply won't allow themselves to be manipulated in whatever shape or form.  If these people don't exist anymore then I am afraid the world is in deep trouble.

Like I said I was on to what they were going for but had hoped they would take it a step further so that also the viewer would have been fooled. You know that one twist after the main one that would make you question everything you just saw. Nothing of the sort. Instead we get the easiest and most convenient solution. Like the people behind Rebirth are taunting you. " We know we can't change your way. People are who they are. But if you are so gullible to believe is then you deserve your money to be taken from you. " And perhaps the people who made this movie thought the same. The lack of a real mind bending twist would not have been a big deal had the film been more suspenseful and thrilling. But for some reason it remains to keep things tame and play it safe. Films like these should not be afraid to go over the top and challenge the viewer. Only it never does this and therefore makes the whole film rather conventional and average. Seriously skip this film. It truly is one very disappointing affair and I am sure you could spend your time more wisely. 

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