Movie #154 2021: Brightburn (2019)

Uhhhhhhhhh yeah. I totally forgot I’d even watched this movie. Great start!

Brightburn is an anti-hero origin story horror movie, produced by James Gunn and written by… two of his brothers. Again, great start. The premise basically revolves around questions of morality and what would happen if a ‘superhero’ had decided to become a ‘supervillain’ instead. When a baby crash lands on Earth, he’s adopted by a married couple who have struggled to conceive on their own. When he’s on the cusp of puberty, something seems to change within the child and horrendous and bloody events begin to occur in the town in which they live.

Brightburn Review: A Gruesome Riff on the Superman Mythos | IndieWire

“Dude, what if Superman was evil?” – James Gunn, probably. I mean, it went exactly like that, didn’t it?

From the outset, Brightburn’stone is really confusing. Though I love Elizabeth Banks and David Denman (the boy’s parents) and they actually do quite well in these more serious roles, using a cast of actors who are mostly known for their comedy is so jarring because it’s not what you expect of these famous faces. Maybe that was the point, but it ends up just being really weird to behold. 

10 Reasons Explaining Why Brightburn is Better than Endgame - Taylor Holmes  inc.

To be honest, it all just seems like a waste of what could have been a pretty cool premise. Exploring what could happen if superheroes went the other way is a cool idea, and in the right hands, it could have been an exciting, unique movie about morality and nature versus nurture. Instead, it’s a slightly tedious “horror” movie with a bunch of failed jump scares, and ends up relying too much on the gory visuals that come with its R rated death scenes. I will say, though, that some of the deaths in this movie are wince-inducing and much more terrifying than many horror movie deaths.

It’s not a complete failure – there are a couple of redeeming features that make Brightburn mildly watchable. As already mentioned, the cast do a good job, specifically Denman, who completely nails the more frantic, angry, dramatic scenes he gets to do. Some of the camerawork is pretty interesting too, and the score – whilst not mind blowing – gets the job done. But is it anything special? Not in the slightest.

Mild positives aside, on the whole I can’t look past how overwhelmingly boring they managed to make this movie. The fact that it is only 90 minutes is absolutely wild because it felt much longer.

Wouldn’t recommend, but it had so much potential, damn it!

Brightburn is available to stream on Netflix in the UK.

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