The market is incredibly saturated with comic book/ super hero movies. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been a fan. There has been some super hero movie fatigue as of late personally. I’m over it. When the James Gunn produced “Brightburn” released it’s original trailers I was still apprehensive. Were those apprehensions founded, or was I completely in the wrong?
“Brightburn” follows the story Tori and Kyle Breyer (Elizabeth Banks and David Denmen), who have been having trouble conceiving a child. We come upon them in the midst of a little foreplay, which is interrupted by a house shaking meteor. Or was it? What follows is a montage of home videos showing the growth of a little boy, named Brandon (Jackson Dunn).
What follows is a tale of a young man coming into his own and finding his body as he turns twelve. Except he is a fucking super powered alien. Brandon begins “sleep walking” to where his parents have buried his arrival pod (but locked up in a crawl space). He begins chanting and hearing voices when he tries to sleep, tosses a lawnmower across the plains as he tries to get it started, and then inserting his hand into the blade, breaking the blade. He realizes something isn’t right and so do his parents. They, as most parents, think it’s puberty, but it’s obviously something much more sinister.
Brandon winds up breaking one of his classmates hand by squeezing it after she calls him a pervert. Seemingly being jaded by a crush makes him into a murderer. Brandon goes on a killing spree, and leaving a call sign at each crime scene. Where “Brightburn” shines is the gore. I haven’t seen such a in your face gore in a minute, including some amazing deaths and make up work. Brandon becomes a literal psycho, and the kills are spectacular. In some scenes he stalks his prey decked out in a mask and cape that he has made from a blanket. It’s pretty chilling was his eyes grow red through the mask and it’s all you can see in a dark room as the victim has no idea whats coming.
The writing and camera work are amazing as well. The struggle Brandons parents have is something I’m sure any parent of a child that has done something horrible goes through. They are trying to figure out how to deal with something they have no control or power over anymore, all while trying not to turn on each other. The camera work is spectacular, as Brandon stalks, you sometimes see the POV of the victim, and other times you see the victim shaking as they can’t see whats about to happen, but they just know it isn’t good. The supporting cast is great, Matt Jones and Steve Agee absolutely kill it. Jackson Dunn as Brandon is perfectly cast, he plays a coming of age alien with world ending powers mixed with the dickheadness of a teenager like a champ. Elizabeth Banks and Roy from the Office play the parents who are out of their league perfectly as well, you really start to feel for Roy as what he is going through seems hopeless and he seems hopeless.
The movie leaves you feeling hopeless by the end, which I feel we don’t get too much of in movies lately. Hopefully we get a Brightburn sequel in some capacity as I feel there is still a lot to tell about this story and character. Also keep a look out at the end for a split second screen shot of the Crimson Bolt, from the James Gunn directed “Super”.