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Brightburn Movie Review

Written by Ryan Holloway

Released by Sony Pictures UK

Brightburn Large

Directed by David Yarovesky
Written by Brian Gunn and Mark Gunn
2019, 90 minutes, Rated 15(UK)
In Cinemas June 19th, 2019

Starring:
Elizabeth Banks as Tori Breyer
David Denman as Kyle Breyer
Jackson A. Dunn as Brandon Breyer
Meredith Hagner as Merilee McNichol
Emmie Hunter as Caitlyn
Matt Jones as Noah McNichol

Review:

Imagine if Superman was evil? What a fun idea. The trouble is, Brightburn never really does anything beyond that tantalising concept.

David Yarovesky directs a DC lawsuit waiting to happen, as we meet the Kents, sorry, the Breyers, Elizabeth and Kyle, who one night have their evening interrupted by an alien pod crashing into their barn, containing, yep, you guessed it, a newborn child.

The couple has always wanted to have a baby so decide to raise the child as their own.

Brightburn 01 Brightburn 02

We jump to a 12 year old Brandon (Dunn) in high school and to a very loving family environment. The Breyers are good people and Brandon is certainly a product of their love, a very mild-mannered kid who helps his dad out on the farm and plays hide and seek with his mum. Aw, hope nothing happens to ruin it, not really, we really hope it does, let's get evil!

One night, the pod in the barn glows red and affects Brandon in very unusual ways. He is drawn to the pod, which is kept behind a heavily chained door and, although this initial visit is first seen as him simply sleepwalking, it’s the beginning of something far more sinister. He begins to hear voices in his head and display powerful abilities.

What we then have is an origin story that never really gets going. Horror tropes and comic book clichés dominate the very simple story, which, whilst entertaining, never really surprises.

Brightburn 03 Brightburn 04

There are flashes of what could have been when an unhinged Brandon begins to stalk a girl in his class after she humiliates him in gym class, (or P.E. to UK readers), and the moments of gore are fantastic with one being literally jaw dropping.

With such a mouth-watering premise, the imagination runs riot with things that could happen and despite some cool death scenes and grounded performances from its cast it never quite takes flight, forgive the superhero pun.

Elizabeth Banks is always a joy to watch, an actress with such a natural ability that she earns the film an extra star just by being in it. Jackson A. Dunn too is perfectly cast in that he’s so goddamn irritatingly brattish.

In fact the entire main cast is great, which actually makes you care for them during the film’s darkest (more fun) moments, and that’s one of the frustrating points, Brightburn gets a lot right despite its weak script.

At one point we are lead down a kind of whodunit path as the cops investigate the sudden bout of strange deaths in the town, but we all knew who ‘dunit’ and just want it to get moving.

Brightburn 05 Brightburn 06

Where as Superman gave us insight into Clark Kent’s origins and his purpose on Earth, Brightburn makes no attempt to explain anything. Where is Brandon from? Who sent him? Why?

These questions wouldn’t really matter if the film had more impact but it’s these things that could have shaped something far more satisfying. If sequels, or a Brightburn universe are/were planned to fill in those gaps then this is surely going to be a misfire.

All in all it feels a little too much like a poor M. Night Shyamalan film, trying so hard to be cool and appealing to its target audience but forgetting that we’ve been spoilt with superhero movies over the last decade and so we expect and frankly deserve more.

Brightburn is nothing more than a fun ‘what-if’ movie, and, by the end, you’re left to wonder ‘what if they’d put a little more effort into the story?’ It could have been a modern gem but is more Suicide Squad than Avengers.

Grades:

Movie: Threestars Brightburn Small
Buy Amazon Uk

About The Author
Ryan Holloway
Staff Reviewer
As far back as he can remember Ryan has always had an obsession with films, and horror in particular. 'A Nightmare on Elm Street' and ‘Alien’ were the first films that really stuck in the psyche and rather than scarring his tiny mind and running up a huge therapy bill, those films created a fascination with the dark side of life and art. Brought up by Freddy, Jason and Michael Myers (not literally), horror will always fascinate him no matter how absurd, dark, twisted, barmy or just plain wrong. Horror DNA gives him the opportunity, and excuse, to legitimise his macabre tastes and watch whatever strangeness comes his way.
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