Brightburn – Movie Review
Brightburn is superhero horror, or should I say supervillain horror? Anyway, it’s co-produced by the Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn, screenwritten by his cousin and brother Mark and Brian, and directed by David Yarovesky, who did a relatively unknown horror film called The Hive released in 2014.
I’m sure we all know the origin story of Superman, right? Yeah well what if Clark Kent didn’t turn out to be a nice guy? What if the adolescent Clark Kent believes he’s better than everyone after realising he’s physically superior than human beings? Some terrifying shit is gonna happen for sure and that’s what this horror flick is about, merging the concepts of The Omen (1976) and Chronicle (2012).
So a baby crashes onto Earth nearby a farmhouse in the titular location and is adopted by loving married couple Tori and Kyle Breyer, played by Elizabeth Banks and David Denman. The film never explains where the baby came from. Could be from the space hell of Event Horizon (1997), who knows? The child, whom the Breyers named Brandon, grew up and became a normal 12-year-old but gradually he realises he’s incredibly strong and has the exact same supernatural powers as Superman. And the kid turns out to be pure evil.
This film was originally scheduled to be released last November and now it’s released here in Malaysia two weeks before the United States, its origin country. So I went out and bought a ticket to find out how bad the movie is but surprisingly, it isn’t. It’s actually a decent horror movie. It’s quite scary, engaging and offers a bit of graphic gore. There are two gruesome scenes that are certainly not for the fainthearted. They’re painful to watch.
Sure, the film is not really original or groundbreaking and it uses a simple, typical, cliched horror formula and plot structure, but it allows time for the characters to develop in its first half and that made me care enough about the parents, who are well acted by Banks and Denman. The kid, Brandon, played by Jackson A. Dunn manages put up a performance that’s both innocent and menacing.
The characters and the kill victims here are not as annoyingly dumb as they usually are in horror flicks. And even then, well, if Superman is a murderous psychopath, you’d be powerless and all you could hope for is a quick death. It also feels like the film has an underlying message about parenting — sometimes even when parents have done all the right things and have gave all the love in the world to their children, if their kids are screwed up, there’s nothing much they could do to change that. They’re just screwed up.
The only major problem I had with the film is the unnecessary amount of loud jump scares. To a point I wondered if I was genuinely scared by the kid and the situations or was I just scared of the sudden loud sound that everyone knows is going to come. It goes quiet, camera shifts around and boo! The typical supernatural horror hide-and-seek that never makes sense. Another minor problem is continuity; there are scenes where they don’t tally with one another, like there are times where the parents are freaking out about something and then in the next scene it’s like it didn’t happen.
But other than that, Brightburn is a decent horror drama. It’s a superhero parody but terrifying and gruesome instead of humourous.
*Rating, Malaysian censorship and post-credit information are provided in the video review above. Please watch it, give it a thumbs and subscribe. Thanks for the support!
Malaysia Release Date: 9 May 2019
Local Distributor: (n/a)
Production: Screen Gems, Stage 6 Films, Troll Court Entertainment, The H Collective