Movie Review: Brightburn

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A small spacecraft crash lands in the golden field of the picturesque farm where a loving, young American couple finds a tiny, helpless baby. What are the couple to do, but raise the baby as their own? This is the origin story of probably the greatest fictional hero the world has ever known; a pillar of all that is brave, selfless and good. The savior of mankind. So what was the magic ingredient that caused the all-powerful Superman to become the defender of all humankind? Good parenting? Brightburn poses this question. What if the invincible, supreme alien baby never leaned a sense of humanity? What if the little baby grows into a little terror?

Elizabeth Banks plays Tori Breyer, the devoted mother of 12-year-old Brandon (Jackson A. Dunn). After years of hoping for a baby, Tori and her husband, Kyle (David Denman) become parents by a miracle, when they happen upon the crashed alien spacecraft. 

©2019 Sony Pictures Digital Productions Inc.

Brightburn doesn’t dwell on how this young couple came to adopt the child or their family life in the small town. After all, this is not the happy origin story of a hero. This is the origin story of a monster; a pre-teen kid, who, despite his idyllic upbringing, ends up going the full Kylo Ren. Dunn plays the cold-eyed Brandon so wonderfully, that he might run the risk of being type-cast as the “creepy kid” from here on in.

In addition to some really over-the-top horror scenes, there are some moments that would almost be amusing, if the whole movie wasn’t so damn sinister, like when Brandon’s dad tells him that it’s “okay” to want to act on his impulses (he was talking about puberty, not murderous chaos). Brightburn isn’t the first work of fiction to consider what would happen if the orphan alien chose to be a villain, rather than the hero; however, the movie does a great job of pitting nature against nurture in a rather tongue-in-cheek way. These parents really need to talk about Brandon!

Brightburn is produced by Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn and the screenplay was written by Brian and Mark Gunn. Before Marvel, James Gunn was known for his gory, cult horror-comedy, bodysnatcher film Slither. Brightburn is far from a comedy; yet, as a contradiction of the Superman story, it is hard not to take the film with a grain of salt, considering the gore is especially, alarmingly excessive. Director David Yarovesky does a great job of building tension and creating some genuinely squeamish moments. Don’t think you can avoid the horror by hiding eyes during the gory bits, either. The sound effects are equally nausea-inducing!

Brightburn is in Cinemas now.

REVIEW OVERVIEW
Story and Characters
Visuals and Effects
Enjoyment Factor
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Jess splits her free time between gaming, reading comics and writing things. She is the creator of web comic Heart of Millyera, and the co-founder of the Adelaide Ladies Comic Club.