Bringing you honest reviews of recent releases
Elizabeth Banks – Tori Breyer
David Denman – Kyle Breyer
Jackson A. Dunn – Brandon Breyer / Brightburn
Matt Jones – Noah
Meredith Hagner – Merilee
Emmie Hunter – Caitlyn
Abraham Clinkscales – Royce
There’s something brilliant about Brightburn. It has to be one of the most easily absorbed films I have seen at the cinema in years. Its story is basic but is what feeds the suspense and the horror. And at the same time you get a mixed vibe of sadness amongst all the emotion. Banks is splendid as Tori; the mother figure whose feelings are obviously torn when love turns to hatred, to understanding. She casts a maternal presence over the screenplay and sews together the pieces of this tragedy-cum-adventure nicely.
This movie is filled with tense moments, especially the ones between Brandon and Tori. A situation as simple as breakfast time becomes nerve-shredding when the young chap is confronted by his mother, and another bit sees the pair play a chilling game in their barn (this scene is especially eerie). It’s all material to keep the viewer on their toes constantly which is what a good film does. An added bonus is its restrictive setting and low cast count; it’s ironic that this presents Brightburn in a slightly isolated fashion given the lead character.
But what about the storyline itself? I’m sure I wasn’t the only person out there to question why the fuck they had cooked up a ‘new’ film – with exactly the same story as the origins of Superman. It’s not even similar – it’s the same thing. When the trailer played in cinemas it was met with my instant eye-rolling reaction, and I think an expletive popped out. This was Superman – but with amendments to names and story. Why do this?
Having Superman turned inside out meant my gut reaction was turned into a sense of excitement which lasted every minute of Brightburn. Ultimately you’re watching the polar opposite of Superman; (think Krampus, 2015) where the protagonist delivers the complete reverse of what you’re familiar with. And by doing so, Brandon drills a sense of dread into the screenplay that sets off a chilling atmosphere. It’s the whole sense of being afraid of someone you love which powers the slower scenes too, and Banks is consistent throughout. Her performance peaks during one of the final scenes when Brandon decides to (literally) bring the house down in a scary attempt to oust his mother from the family home. It’s probably the most thrilling game of Hide and Seek I’ve ever witnessed, and the actress along with some explosive visuals pushes Brightburn towards it’s tragic end. Keep your eyes peeled during this bit, it’s literally a case of blink and you’ll miss it.
Brightburn isn’t all carnage. It includes a few subtle, more emotionally constructed scenes, especially as it focuses on Brandon’s relationships with his peers. Young Caitlin (Hunter) puts a dramatic spin on the action when he becomes interested in her; the girl delivers a sad performance that sees potential romance turn sour. The levels of dynamics are good in this respect, but if you’re waiting for more nasty action from the protagonist – you won’t be waiting long. The story swiftly returns to the caped little shit as more trouble kicks off..
The end of the movie (just before the credits roll) may fill you with dread or disappointment. Strangely though, its ridiculous outcome also adds a bit of humour in the form of news broadcasts and clearly paves the way for a sequel.
You will either enjoy Brightburn or write it off as a load of crap. Let’s face it – someone has played with Superman which is a tacky idea. And messing with such a classic story is going to make a tedious watch for most of you. But at the same time it makes a decent watch.
Similar to this year’s Shazam! which took a spin on the superhero genre, this movie follows the same bizarre path but in the horror category. It’s different, plunges the viewer into deep dread, and throws a few jumps in for good measure.
It’s a true guilty pleasure.
If only Child’s Play turned out similar..