Verdict: The superhero horror flick makes this new genre its own.
We’ve all heard of Clark Kent’s origin story. A child from another world crash-lands on Earth only to be found and raised by two loving parents, later going on to become Superman. What if the young boy with extraordinary powers decides to channel his abilities towards evil and violence instead of truth and justice? That’s what director David Yarovesky and producer James Gunn’s superhero horror film Brightburn explores. It’s a truly unique premise and seems to provide a terrifying answer to that question. Let’s find out if the filmmakers managed to pull off the huge task of taking this killer concept and making it into something epic.
What’s Brightburn About:
Tori (Elizabeth Banks) and Kyle Bryer (David Denman) are a happily married couple longing for a child of their own. One special night, a mysterious meteor unites them with their now-adopted son Brandon Bryers (Jackson A. Dunn). As Brandon reaches his adolescent years, he begins to uncover the truth about his true self and with that, a whole new sinister side of the young boy is unleashed. As the dark young superhero beings to wreak havoc on his small town, he seems unbeatable.
Produced by Guardians of the Galaxy series writer and director James Gunn, it is pretty evident that Brightburn is not your regular superhero flick. His brother Brian Gunn and cousin Mark Gunn, who co-wrote the screenplay, take classic superhero lore and turn it into something terrifyingly contrasting. A sinister re-imagining of the one and only Superman? It seems like such an obvious premise and yet we haven’t seen it done before. However, the film also doesn’t confine itself to this premise and ends up offering us much more. There are jump scares aplenty and enough character depth to make the film compelling. Brightburn takes two distinct genres and mashes them together into an entertaining plot. It’s still a gutsy superhero movie but it’s also gory horror flick.
Director David Yarovesky creates a great aesthetic with meta visuals and he treats us to (or more likely terrifies us with) shocking and inventive gore. Brightburn has an arresting atmosphere of a creeping eeriness that slowly pushes you into a worthy climax.
Elizabeth Banks is incredibly relatable as the mother who unabashedly roots for her son but, when it comes to the cast, much of the film’s likability can be credited to the young Jackson A. Dunn. Unlike what you’d expect, we don’t see him portray the commonplace trope of going through an internal struggle between good and evil. Instead, what the film really does differently is showing us a smart young boy with incredible abilities and sinister intentions. As the film progresses and we see him switch from a homemade mask to no mask, the villainous reality of his character becomes more and more evident.
What Could’ve Been Better:
Brightburn is only David Yarovesky’s second feature film as a director and there are moments where it shows. He delivers what is promised from superhero horror, but does not exceed expectations.
Why You Should Watch:
If you’re looking for something new in the realm of countless superhero movies, this film offers you that. If you’re looking for a horror movie that’s smart, gritty, and gory, this film offers you that too! Watch Brightburn for its entertaining execution of an intelligent premise.