Brightburn is an unsettling gorey take on what if Superman was a messed 12 year old instead of hero.
Unsettling. If I had to describe the film Brightburn in one word, that would be it. Brightburn is a horror movie with the general premise of Superman’s origin. A baby from another world crash lands in a farm, family raises him as their own, but as the boy ages he begins to develop super powers. Unlike Superman though, this boy becomes a monster instead of a beacon of hope.
The plot is a nice what if. What if something of that much power just started off evil to begin with? What would that be like? Well, it’s creepy as hell and gorey to the point it’s hard to watch the screen. Now I have seen the Saw the movies and this one when it gets to the gore matches that franchise in just being pretty damn disgusting. But before I keep going down that rabbit hole I’d like to cover my thoughts on the plot a bit more. The general idea of this movie is great. It’s the how it gets there that leaves me a tad disappointed. The method of which they show Brandon Breyer become this super evil would work, but more like a TV show or a book. The idea needs to cook more. Instead it hopes the audience just runs with it and not ask questions or want to see this child’s transition.
That is the disappointing part for me, the idea has so much more potential for greatness but it was pushed aside to get to the messed up parts, but hey. If they said they were setting out to make a 90 minute movie I get it. If that’s the case the rest of the movie better really lean into the evil creepy factor. It’s in there that this movie does a great job. It’s dark, it’s disturbing, the lead actor Jackson A. Dunn really sells that this kid don’t give a crap about murdering or anything in between. And he sure does murder in some very grotesque ways. As I said at the start, watching this movie was unsettling. The sequences of his terrible acts also is pretty inventive for a horror movie as it leans into the superhero powers quite well. It really makes this film stand out, where it could have been a generic slasher movie it becomes much more menacing when you know that the villain can shoot lasers from his eyes or fly through your house over and over and over again.
Watching as Brandon’s parents Tori (Elizabeth Banks) and Kyle (David Denman) come to the conclusion that their “son” is pure evil is pretty tragic. More so Tori whose mother-son bond makes it almost impossible for her to accept what Kyle picks up on much sooner in the story. That is really what keeps the movie becoming more than just gore-porn like Saw. It wants you to hope that this family can put a stop to this or maybe get through to the boy. Make no mistake though this is a horror movie not a drama, and it’s with that sense of things that leads to an ending that isn’t that hard to see from pretty early on.
Does knowing where the events will go make this less enjoyable? A tad, more so if you have read or watched similar stories before. All that said, if you are a fan of unsettling disturbing movies with a super villain spin, you really can’t go wrong with Brightburn.