Dir. David Yarovesky
Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)
“Maybe there is something wrong with Brandon. He may look like us. He's not like us…”
What if Superman crash-landed on earth and instead of wanting to help us, decided that he was going to kill us? That’s the excellent alt-superman concept behind David Yarovesky’s Brightburn where we get a preteen Zod who means us harm.
"maybe put him back before bad things happen?"
It starts off in a reverential homage to the man of steel. Small town wannabe parents Tori (Elizabeth Banks) and Kyle Breyer (David Denman) can’t get pregnant but find a crashed comet, take in the baby and raise him as their own on their farm etc. But when puberty begins to kick in young ‘Brandon’ (Jackson A. Dunn – who played a young Antman in Avengers Endgame) increasingly becomes a homicidal monster and there is very little we puny humans can do to stop him…
"He's not here to save us"
They is so much to enjoy here for super-fans that want something nastily different from the glut of superhero flicks that populate the big screen currently. Brightburn goes all out in bringing horror elements to the mix –the grisly deaths will likely stay with you after the credits roll, especially a brutally enforced car crash.
Working with a tiny budget, Director Yarovesky, aided by James ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ Gunn whips up a great creepy atmosphere. The special effects are used sparingly but deliver some excellent thrills. This is an origin story that really works – mixing schlocky kills, a creeping eeriness of tone and a lot of fun into something refreshing and cool.
"you can run but you can't hide"
The cast go about the business with gusto, props to newcomer Emmie Hunter who plays Brandon’s unfortunate schoolgirl crush Caitlyn (it’s never wise to reject the loner kid at school). Brightburn also doesn’t wimp out on racking up a slasher style body count and Brandon’s home-made mask / cape costume is an instantly iconic look.
Strong imagery and cinematography help elevate this essentially indie flick to stand alongside other great antihero films such as the excellent ‘Chronicle’ or Gunn’s own ‘Super’. It has a darkly comic underbelly that will go down well with anyone who is over all the super-smug self-righteous superheroes.
Brightburn isn’t perfect but it deserves to be a cult classic and for once the hinted sequel would be absolutely welcome, especially if the filmmakers could get their hands on a bigger budget to embrace the potential mayhem.
An innovatively grim addition to the superhero cinematic roster and one that deserves a wide audience!
Out of a potential 5 - you have to go with a Darkmatters:
(4 - Evil Has Found Its Superhero)
Awesomeness öööö – Super death scenes are a riot
Laughs ööö – Lots of dark humour
Horror öööö – Scary and grim in places
Spiritual Enlightenment ö - Not all aliens are friendly...