“Take the world,” say voices that come from the spaceship. Thus begins a superhero movie with a “twist” horror, and vice versa – horror with a “superhero” twist.
We all know the “Superman” story. A mysterious child, who no one knows where it came from, finds a married couple who cannot have their own children. They decide to hold child and tell everyone it’s theirs. As the boy grows up it becomes clear that this is not an ordinary boy, but a very special child with alien abilities. In the end, the boy, now a super man, fully reveals his powers and origins and becomes a well-known hero who subordinates his life to saving humanity.
But what if the story went in the other direction? What if a boy with incredible abilities has decided to use his powers for another goal, completely contrary to saving the world? What if the son of Krypton was actually evil and there was no good Clark Kent to confront him. It is a question that, distorting the Mythology of Man of Steel, sets up the superhero horror movie “Brightburn”, produced by director James Gunn (“Guardians Of The Galaxy 1 & 2”) and directed by David Yaroveski (“The Hive”).
“Brightburn” tells a story about a boy who did not become a superhero but a terrible force of evil ..
“Brightburn” is not the first “superhero” horror in history (hybrid “Darkman”, “Constantine”, “Ghost Rider”, “Hellboy”, “Chronicles”), but so far it’s the first to do a somber “twist” on “Superman” since the superhero protagonist to the antagonists, from the savior of the world / humanity to the possible destroyer of the same.
He is also the most brutal in the twist of superhero goodness, especially when compared to last year’s synthetic “Venom” as “anti-spidey.” The concept of the movie from a screenplay by Brian and Mark Gunn mixes, in fact, two Richard Donner classics (“Superman,” and “Omen”), illustrating what would look to be that Damien Thorn dress superhero cloak and the world gets a maniac with super abilities.
Unfortunately, the more concrete “psychological transformation” from a dear ordinary little boy to a dark villain, with all the possible reasons that could have triggered this is unfortunately shown superficially here. It would have been more interesting if there had been more fracture and turmoil between the learned humanity in him and a psychopath who coldly studies the anatomy of the person he killed
Not overused the potential for the character is reminiscent of the ways in which some children play with animals.
After a difficult battle with infertility, Turin’s dream of motherhood is realized by the arrival of a mysterious baby boy. Brandon seems to be all that Tori and her husband Kyle ever wanted – smart, talented, curious about discovering the world. But they quickly realize that their greatest gift is in fact a curse, for themselves and for the whole country. Brandon, seeking answers to questions about himself because he has always felt different, growing up reveals his incredible abilities as well as how to use them. But his incredible abilities, is not for the benefit of humanity.
As Brandon approaches puberty, an evil force awakens within him, and Tori becomes horrified by the terrible doubts about her son.
A miraculous child turns into a wicked predator. Although in danger herself, Brandon’s mother, Tori, does not give up on the pursuit of the good in him because, despite everything, he is still her son.
Changes in Brandon’s mood and manifestation of power are attributed to puberty, much like in “Spider-Man,” ending with the remark “the body changes.” “It’s different,” Tori observes. “It’s puberty,” said her sister, a school psychologist (Meredith Hanger) whose husband (Matt Jones) jokingly says “they’re all monsters,” referring generally to children.
The movie is typified by parental fears about raising a child, especially today when many over-employed mothers and fathers barely know who their children are (become). Fears that, regardless of the parental love provided, the upbringing may go wrong and the beloved child does not have to turn out well but slip to this or that dark side.
“You will always be my boyfriend,” the mother Tori said, often emphasizing her son’s distinctiveness and specialty, which he would soon become aware. “I know I’m something else, something superior,” Brandon says, as his powers begin to grow, his eyes turn threatening red, and he puts on a simple but effective mask on his head that is apt to cause creepy tension.
The anti-superhero mask, by the way, is a creation of costume designer Autumn Steed, the wife of director Yaroveski. Gunn wanted mask to be as horror iconic as Freddy’s, Leatherface’s and Jason’s. The above subtext certainly adds weight when Brightburn gets deeper under the skin of the horror genre and Brandon begins to act like a typical obsessed, demonic kid from the typical supernatural horror that followed from “Omen” to “Pet Cemetery” and beyond..
The movie theme itself works great. There are many parallels between Superman and Brightburn, but they are quite frightening because of their grotesque inversion.
The film starts out slow, though it does create some slight tension, but again it manages to build a closeness between the characters and explain their background stories. The moment when Brandon becomes aware of his powers, begins hell and does not stop until the very end. The killings are brutal yet fun enough that you can’t turn your head. There is also a ‘jump scare’ scene.
The subversion of the superhero and the super-popular superhero genre also makes “Brightburn” more intriguing. Superheroes are kid-friendly material (s), and their movies are for Brandon peers who admire them. These same kids should by no means see “Brightburn” because of the few truly gruesome, even excessive scenes of inhumane violence.
Some scenes have not been seen even in recent horror films because where many directors make the cut, Yarovesky continues to shoot. Stands out the scene when Brandon attack waitress (Becky Wahlstrom), the mother of a classmate (Emmie Hunter) whose hand he crushed.
When a shard of glass ends up in a waitress’s eye after a burst of lighting, it will cause wiggle in a chair, as will her subjective bloody perspective. And that is nothing to the scene of a car accident where the injured bite the steering wheel.
Brandon becomes like a Terminator, no guesses with him, he feels no regrets, no remorse … This is a horribly sinister, pessimistic and subversive view of the “superhero” genre that can be seen as a product of Gunn’s dark period. After being fired by Marvel for directing “Guardians of the Galaxy 3,” Gunn thought of the superheroes as the worst and gave them a negative sign.
The music is creepy and has a lot of effect on the film’s tensions. For the most part, the film is very tense, while only at some moments some calmer music emerges. Compliments of Timothy Williams for selecting a musical background.
Given that Brightburn had a budget of 6 million visual effects are quite satisfactory.
Much of the film looks quite decent, especially the brutal, creepy and interesting scenes associated with the young anti-Superman. The movie is visually not Avengers: Infinity War, but definitely not some C productions. Solid and more on that given his budget.
The cast is good. They are not some big, expensive paid actors, but they did their job quite well. Lead actor Jackson A. Dunn, who embodied Brandon Breyer did very well in scenes where he had to act like a complete lunatic, but also in which he was an innocent 12-year-old. The mother and father, Tori Breyer (Elizabeth Banks) and Kyle Breyer (David Denman), are more convincing in the film and their intimacy, love and concern for the boy are felt very well. All the other actors are quite solid.
In short, BrightBurn is a great example of how a intelligent idea, even with a small budget, can create a good and original movie. One currently very popular superhero theme, made in a completely different way, resulting in a good horror movie and something not seen so far in this genre. The acting in the movie is mostly satisfying, the effects solid, and the horror and especially the brutality is at its peak. They did their best to make brutal killings that even Mortal Kombat would not be ashamed of.
Lastly, just a tip for parents – if your child throws a lawn mower at 100 meters, chews metal accessories and breaks the arms of his or her colleagues, have it tested. He may be a stranger. 🙂