Director: David Yarovesky
Writers: Brian Gunn and Mark Gunn
Starring: Elizabeth Banks, David Denman, Jackson A. Dunn, Matt Jones and Meredith Hagner
This is my first review of a film. I have watched many films in my 27 years of life. There are films that I love, films that I hate, films that I have a soft spot for, and films that I watch for nostalgia.
Brightburn is a film I have wanted to watch for a long time. I originally had planned to see it at the cinema. But never got around to seeing it. I was initially sold on the film from the trailer alone. As a child, I read many comic books, so I was bound to be a superhero fan – on top of that, I love my thriller/horror type shows/films, and Brightburn is a combination of both for me.
We have all asked ‘what if’ regarding Superman not being a hero, superman not being the man he is, superman simply being evil. Brightburn answers those questions for you. It follows the basic set-up of the Superman story. A married couple who lives on a farm in Kansas and are struggling to have a child of their own have their lives changed, seemingly for the better, when a spaceship crashes near their farm with a lone baby on board the ship. Seeing it as a sign, they adopt the child as their own and raise him the best they can. As their child grows up, he discovers his powers, and his character changes. The only difference between Superman in this film is that the alien child named Brandon Breyer (Jackson A. Dunn) is pure evil.
As I stated, I love horror – one of the main things I love about this film is how much it leans into the horror genre. There are jump scares timed correctly, unlike other horror films that rely on cheap jump scares to make them seem scary. Whereas with Brightburn, you can feel the tension and uneasiness develop as Brandon starts to get his powers. The more we see Brandon head down a darker path, the creepier and more sinister he becomes, and the less human and emotional he becomes; he’s cold.
Jackson A. Dunn does a good job playing Brandon, both the innocent 12-year-old boy and a horrifying Villain. However, there are times when I did feel that he lacked a particular aspect when trying to perform certain emotions, like anger – his face remained the same throughout – although that can also be a good credit as it may have added a creepy aspect to it.
One of the film’s best parts was Brandon’s first kill at the Diner. The reasons behind the killing seemed childish – which makes sense as Brandon is a child who would have silly reasons to act on his emotions. The second, Brandon doesn’t like someone and does not get his way; he horrifically kills them, even those closest to him. The atmosphere of the Diner scene embodies the horror aspect, which adds perceptions of how powerful and dangerous Brandon can be.
Overall, Brightburn seemed like a film set up for future films to be birthed from– a series of films. Will that happen? We will have to wait and see. Although I loved the horror aspect of it, I felt some things were lacking regarding the performances. Would I watch it again? Most likely, yes, again, to see the opposite of Superman. Otherwise, I probably would not watch it again if it were not for that reason.