Directed by David Yarovesky
Starring: Jackson Dunn, Elizabeth Banks, David Denman, Matt Jones
Runtime: 91 minutes
Originally, I had planned for this week’s review to be Aladdin. It crushed the box office last weekend and from word of mouth I hear it’s excellent! Don’t take this review as me not telling you to see it. Go see both. Brightburn was my choice for the week because of the unique premise and marketing involved. When we have been given action films, sequels, and summer tent-poles (Aladdin included) I wanted to give my readers an alternative option to go see to combat this heat. Forewarning, this film is gory. Several times, my jaw hit the floor and I couldn’t believe what had happened. Horror fans will LOVE this one.
Onto the film.
The premise is simple. What if Superman was evil instead of mankind’s savior? The marketing for this film really sold that idea and I thought created intrigue and a curiosity that wouldn’t have happened with the standard horror movie motif. I try to avoid trailers and reviews to keep my opinions from being swayed but I did see a trailer a few months ago and thought it sounded interesting. At least not like every other film made in today’s media.
We start this film in Brightburn, Kansas. We are introduced to a young couple named Kyle and Tori Breyer (Denman and Banks) It’s evident by a scan of the bookshelves they are trying to conceive. (Infertility books are spotted) We then see a spacecraft crash close to their home and they discover a child they name Brandon and adopt.
We then meet the family years later and Brandon (Dunn) looks to be in middle school. This is where the film takes off. We observe someone going through growing pains and typical conflicts for kids growing up, yet we see it through the eyes of a child with superpowers. How would you have handled conflicts or rejection if you had superhuman strength? At first Brandon comes off as a moody kid, but then he crushes someone’s hand that looked all too real (I winced) and then you realize he will not be this world’s Superman. Also, seriously Brandon…. was that necessary?
This film isn’t perfect. The dialogue at times can be over-the-top. Kyle (Denman) was better than expected. (Fans will remember him as Roy from The Office) Bank’s character plays a torn mother, loving her son, yet fearful of what/who he really is. I will say this, Brandon (Dunn) is very good. From what I can tell the actor is relatively a newcomer (4 films) but he handles the starring role like a natural. At times the viewer is torn just like his parents feeling for his struggle and how he plays it. Other times you want to get FAR FAR AWAY from him. I also felt that the film came off too “dark” in some scenes. Maybe my eyes are getting old, but I had trouble making a few things out. On the other hand, Brandon’s costume and especially his mask are GREAT. Sometimes you’ll catch things in films that you’ll remember even if you remember nothing else. The main character in his “superhero” costume is that for this film.
What really makes the film better than your average horror film are the death scenes. Spoiler alert, people do die. It could be by Brandon. It could be by the parents protecting their son. You’ll have to see it to figure out the answer to that, but there are deaths and for horror fans they are excellent. From the first death to the last each one is different and unique, and the effects were impressive. I’m not sure how much was CGI vs. Practical Make-Up but well done to the crew of this film.
In closing, if you’re a fan of the horror genre, have already seen Aladdin and want a date night, or just want to see something a little different. Give it a shot. Some films I’d suggest just waiting for Redbox or Netflix. Not this one. The effects and especially some of the aerial scenes deserved to be seen on the big screen.
As always see this local. Portsmouth Cinema has been crushing it. Long lines will happen for big movies, but I always notice the staff being friendly and going above and beyond to help you get away for a couple of hours. Be on the lookout for my horror write up of the “real-life” narrative. An overnight stay at Waverly Hills Sanitorium.
Also, Brightburn has a mid-credits scene. Don’t miss it. 3 ½ Stars out of 5. #SHOPLOCAL.
Andrew McManus is Operations Manager for Patties & Pints and its parent company Eflow Development. He can be reached at [email protected] or 740-981-9158.