Saturday, August 31, 2019

Movie Review: "Brightburn" (2019)

Director: David Yarovesky
Year: 2019
Rating: R
Running Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Toni and Kyle Breyer have been unable to conceive a child. They get the biggest shock of their lives when a spacecraft with what appears to be a human baby crashes on their farm in Brightburn, Kansas. The Breyers take it in and raise it as their own son. The Breyer clan has an ordinary life together until Brandon develops superhuman powers and uses them to hurt those who have wronged him.

Movie still for the 2019 sci-fi horror film Brightburn where Elizabeth Banks holds the baby she found in a crashed spaceship in the woods behind her home
"We tried for so long to have a baby, and now, he's here." (Image Source)
"What if Superman was evil?" is the question asked and answered in director David Yarovesky's "Brightburn." The film is written by Brian and Mark Gunn, who worked together on such movies like the boy band parody "2ge+her" and the direct-to-video "Bring it On" sequel "Bring it On: Again." Tori and Kyle Breyer (Elizabeth Banks and Dave Denman) have been trying for some time to have a baby but have had no success. One evening, as they see it, a miracle happens when a spaceship carrying what appears to be a human child crashes in the woods of their Brightburn, Kansas farm. They name the child Brandon (Jackson A. Dunn) and raise him as their own. For the first 12 years of Brandon's life, things go smoothly, and he is just an average, everyday kid. Everything changes one night when an alien signal from space activates the latent superpowers inside him. He develops superhuman strength, speed, the power of flight, and even laser vision. Instead of using his powers for good, Brandon uses his abilities to unleash his anger on the people who he thinks have wronged him or those he deems a threat.
David Denman drives Jackson A. Dunn around in his truck in a movie still for the film Brightburn (2019)
"Sometimes when bad things happen to people, it's for a good reason." (Image Source)
If there really is an entity that has almost god-like powers, the world better hope they are a nice person who is altruistic and doesn't give in to petty squabbles, jealousy, or manipulation, because if not, "Brightburn" will be the result. This is a brutish and visually fun but ultimately flawed film loaded with copious amounts of blood and gore that will make even avid horror fans a little squeamish. The story is pretty basic, but it explores an intriguing "what would you do?" scenario for Brandon's parents. Tori and Kyle love their "son," but they soon realize he is a danger to society and they are torn as to what to do about it. Elizabeth Banks and David Denman do an excellent job capturing the duality of two parents who are concerned and in anguish about their situation, and in love with their son but wanting to stop him at all costs. Unfortunately, there is a bit of inconsistency when it comes to how Brandon approaches his victims. Similar to Superman, Brandon is an overpowered character, and because of this, he must occasionally do illogical things. If a person can zoom around at supersonic speeds and annihilate a target on impact, it doesn't make much sense for them to do anything else. Brandon is portrayed as a character who enjoys taunting and toying with his victims, so watching his prey run away on foot while he flies around to avoid them hurts the suspension of disbelief just a skosh. If Brandon wanted someone dead, they'd be dead. If a person isn't dead yet, it's because Brandon is holding back for his own personal reasons. It makes sense to us to hold back when it comes to a conflicted hero like Supes, but not a sadistic little prick like Brandon. It was pretty badass/grotesque/bleak/terrible to watch him obliterate people left and right, even though almost all of his victims didn't deserve to die. Still, these deaths sure make for a killer display of bloody, stomach-churning effects make-up.
Brightburn 2019 movie still where Jackson A. Dunn's character Brandon puts on his special red mask and cape to use his powers for evil purposes
"I just know I'm something else, something superior." (Image Source)
"Brightburn" is a bit of a mixed bag for us. Still, if this movie gets a sequel, we'll probably see it, especially if they keep the same amount of blood and guts and gore!

My Rating: 6/10
BigJ's Rating: 6/10
IMDB's Rating: 6.2/10
RT Rating: 57%
Do we recommend this movie: Sure, why not?

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