Film review: Brightburn
Synopsis:What if a child from another planet crash-landed on Earth but, instead of trying to save humanity, he wanted to erase it?
What if Superman was evil?
That’s essentially the entire premise of Brightburn which is centred around the Breyer family (Elizabeth Banks and David Denman) who adopt Brandon (Jackson A. Dunn), an alien baby who crash landed on Earth.
Life was going well for the Breyer family, who finally have the son they always wanted after years of trying unsuccessfully, until Brandon’s 12th birthday when he is summoned by his spaceship.
Brandon discovers he has superhuman abilities including strength, flight, laser eyes and near invincibility - all the powers most teenage boys wished puberty gave them.
If this all sounds familiar, that’s because the origin story is so eerily like Superman, it’s a wonder the filmmakers didn’t name the titular character Clark Kent.
But where Clark and Brandon differ is that Clark wasn’t a full-blown psychopath with homicidal tendencies.
Brandon’s evil starts off small, with the murdering of a few chickens and breaking a classmate’s arm, but gore hounds will be happy as he soon graduates to murder.
Director David Yarovesky doesn’t shy away from showing the consequences of Brandon’s abilities, including several detailed and gory death scenes.
A scene involving a glass shard being removed from a victim’s eye will be sure to stick with audiences long after the film is over.
Where Brightburn falters is the scare factor. Brandon maybe deadly but he is never frightening.
Ultimately, the film relies far too much on its unique premise and fails to deliver on much else outside of gore.
Fans of the horror genre will find much to enjoy with the film, but there is so much more that could have been done with the scenario.
The credits hint at a sequel and, if the filmmakers can better capitalise on some of the ideas present in Brightburn, we might have another cinematic universe on our hands.
Final verdict: 3
Elizabeth Banks, David Denman, Jackson A. Dunn, Meredith Hagner, Matt Jones.
If you like this, try:
Blade, Chronicle, Glass, Super, The Toxic Avenger, Swamp Thing, Darkman, The Crow, Unbreakable, Spawn, Constantine.