Director – David Yarovesky (Team Unicorn, The Hive)
Starring – Elizabeth Banks (Slither, Power Rangers), David Denman (The X-Files, The Office), and Jackson A. Dunn (Avengers: Endgame, GLOW)
Release Date – 2019
Rating – 3/5
Tagline – “He’s not here to save the world”
I’m a huge fan of James Gunn. I became familiar with this talented director, writer, and producer when I became a fan of Troma. His work with Lloyd Kaufman is what made me a fan and his work sense is what is keeping me a fan. Slither was my go-to horror film in high school. I watched it more times than I care to admit. PG Porn and Super were great as well but Gunn truly made a name for himself when he directed Guardians of the Galaxy. Since releasing the first two Guardians films he has became a hot commodity and produced a few films when not directing.
Over the last few years Gunn has produced the films The Belko Experiment and Brightburn. I absolutely loved The Belko Experiment. I know it wasn’t for everyone but I fucking loved it. When I first saw the trailer for Brightburn I knew it was going to be another hit but I couldn’t make it to theaters to check it out. As soon as I received the press release for the physical release of the film I had to reach out and get a review copy.
**Spoiler Alert**The film follows married couple Tori (Banks) and Kyle (Denman) Breyer who struggle with having children when one night their prayers were answered. Something from another world has crash landed near their farm and in it is a baby boy. They raise him like their own but things take an unexpected turn on his 12th birthday and he starts hearing voices while he sleeps that drives him to the capsule he was found in that his parents has hidden in the barn. He has a hard time understanding what the voices are saying at first but soon he realizes that they want him to take over the world. This sends him on a violent path killing his family and the townsfolk before his parents. With his parents gone he can now focus on the rest of the world where he becomes a symbol of death. **Spoiler Alert**
When I saw that Gunn was producing a horror origin story for Superman I knew it was going to be good. The movie was a fun watch but I can’t help but feel like there was so much more it could have been. I can recommend this film to people with sincere confidence but deep down I know this film could have been an unstoppable horror film that towered over all before it. Instead, we are given a predictable horror twist on a story that everyone knows.
The acting in this is fantastic. Elizabeth Banks is a major crush of mine and she absolutely nails her performance. Sure, I may be biased but she is an amazing actress and Gunn knows how to use her. She is great in her role and she carries the film in several of the predictable and lackluster scenes. We also get a strong performance from David Denman.
Denman is an actor that I either like or dislike. His performance in The Office is one I just don’t care for. He just doesn’t feel committed to his role with the series but his role in Big Fish is one that really stands out to me. He kills it in Brightburn. He does a fantastic job with his role and absolutely owns it. With that being said, the star of the film is Jackson Dunn. He does a phenomenal job in several scenes but his blank stare and emotionless face in scenes where he is acting distraught or confused did make me laugh. His inexperience does show but aside from those few scenes he still does a fantastic job.
The story for this one is where I had the most fun and had my biggest complaints. I loved the horror twist of on an iconic comic but it’s this well known story that is the film’s downfall. Everyone knows the story of Superman which means that you know what is coming next. Even the horror twists doesn’t change some aspects which is painfully predictable in Brightburn. Knowing what was coming really took the air out of the sales with the momentum of the film which cause a lot of the scenes to lose their impact.
Finally, the film has unforgettable effects. The visual effects are stunning and fluid. There was several scenes that I did not realize was visual effects until it was too late. This one stands out when compared to films with double the budget. The practical effects are fucking insane. The kills get are fucking bloody and gory in some ways with top notch practical effects that you will be thinking about for days to come. Overall, Brightburn is a fun horror twist on a classic comic legend with some genuine horror moments. Sadly, the story is so well known that the film becomes predictable which does ruin some of the film’s gags. It still deserves a watch so check it out.