By Mark Saldana
Rating: 3.5 (Out of 4 Stars)
From producer James Gunn, comes this wicked and sometimes shocking serving of subversion which offers an evil flipside to the Superman mythos. Presented as a nightmarish horror flick, Brightburn examines what happens when great power gets paired with no responsibility and a sociopathic mind. I wasn’t sure what exactly to expect going into this movie, but after leaving this screening, I can honestly say I was pleasantly surprised, impressed, and disturbed.
The story follows a fantastic tale of a strange visitor from another planet, arriving to our world as a baby. Humble rural couple Tory and Kyle Breyer (Elizabeth Banks, David Denham) have been struggling to have a child of their own when an alien spaceship crash lands on their property. This ship contains an infant that appears to be human, but is obviously from somewhere else. The loving couple decide to name him Brandon (Jackson A. Dunn) and raise him as their adopted child.
As Brandon approaches adolescence, he begins to discover some strange feelings and phenomena associated with his otherworldly origin. Having always felt like an awkward outsider, Brandon soon discovers the truth behind his “adoption,” the fact that he has amazing powers, and the true purpose of his arrival. As Brandon gets a real taste for his strength and abilities, he become lost within these powers and feels a lust for domination over humanity.
Written by Mark and Brian Gunn and directed by David Yarovesky, Brightburn proves to be a truly exceptional horrific twist on the Superman story. Though the movie is decently written and solidly directed, it could have been a masterpiece with better development of the Brandon Breyer character. Still, the fillmmakers committ fully to making this film a horror piece and that’s what makes this film so damn thrilling and frightening. The Gunns, Yarovesky and their crew have imagined and created some shocking and jaw-dropping ideas for a super-boy’s use of power to destroy those who oppose him. Yarovesky does a fantastic job of building that tension and dread that lead up to these amazing moments.
The cast members all offer great performances which definitely help sell this premise and drive it home. David Denham stars as father/husband Kyle Breyer, an old school, no-nonsense country guy with a good heart, but who is savvy enough to realize when things are going South. As Brandon Breyer, Jackson Dunn truly impresses. He perfect captures the shy awkwardness of Brandon at the beginning of the story and eases into a sociopathic monster full of power and hunger for domination. Elizabeth Banks gives a beautiful and emotional turn as mother/wife Tori Breyer, a loving woman blinded by her love for her adopted child.
So, as one can already tell, I totally got into this film. I must highly recommend it for people who love both gruesome horror and comic book fantasy. The potential for an amazing new film franchise is there and I sincerely hope that this movie achieves enough success to make this happen. So if one sees this film and really enjoys it, make sure to spread the word, because I would love to see what could happen next.