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The list of Cardinal Rules broken by the players in this tale of horror are too many to count. But I'm going to have a whack at most of them. ***These people should have watched Ryan Higa's "How to Survive A Horror Movie." (See it on YouTube.)***
First of all: You don't go out into the woods and pick up some stray baby from an alien spacecraft, keep the kid, and think things are going to be sweet and rosy.
Second: You don't stash the spacecraft out in the barn and think things are going to be A-okay.
Third: When your quiet little sweetheart of a kid crushes his classmate's hand into pulp, you don't brush it off as childhood shenanigans.
Fourth: When you find blood and guts photos secreted amongst your pubescent 12-year-old male kid's trash stash, you don't brush it off as saying maybe he's just boning up (har, har) for his bio class or whatever.
This movie made me think of Stephen King. Kind of his genre of thing.
What I liked most about the movie was the cast. The Dad, played by David Denman, is awesome in his role. Elizabeth Banks is okay. The kid with the laser eyes is highly watchable and believeable.
I had a bit of a hard time seeing Banks as a Kansas housewife, stuck out on a farm, denim overalls and all. What were they farming, anyway? A dozen chickens? And since when are there wolves in Kansas? There haven't been wolves in Kansas since they were "extirpated" (euphemism for completely wiped out) in the early 1900s. (I know, I looked it up.)
Okay. So many plot holes and trite goings on. But there are some GOTCHA! moments when you may leap up in surprise, too. There's definitely some nasty gory stomach-churning bits for those of you who enjoy that type of stuff. I'm gonna have a hard time wiping that guy in his truck scene out of my mind any time soon.
I gave this movie 7 stars. Watching David Denman is what made this a fun movie for me.
I liked this, it was interesting. Something different. A couple of jump scares, but more a threatening presence type of thing. A strong peformance by Jackson A Dunn, the lead, although playing a rather "grey" kid, the menace is well done.
Jenifer Holland otherwise takes the plaudits as strong, loving and rather yummy mummy.
Superman parallels, with traditional horror feels, and a quirky theme. Well done with some interesting cinematography and some well done effects and gore.
The titles exit music by Billie Eilish 'Bad Guy', was a nice touch.
It's no masterpiece but a good 7/10 for me and a worthy watch.
Beside the good things in the movie, there are bad things also.
The story did not include parts that we should have seen. We don't get to see what's happening inside the head of the boy. Almost at all! This is a big problem. We see him what he does, but we don't know why he does those things (only in basics).
In every movie there's a motivation. Here we don't have that.
What could have been done is that he started his killing spree earlier on, was discovered, and somehow, a solution was formed or attempts at a solution were implemented. There was no foil to evil 'super-kid'. All it ended up being was a big exposition and then the typical late-into-the-movie mounting body count.
The movie feels incomplete - like half a movie.
On paper, that sounds amazing. A deconstruction of the iconic character that has actually worked surprisingly well in it's original medium- the comics. Furthermore, it is produced by James Gunn and written by his brothers, Brian and Mark. With Gunn being so closely attached to this project, how could it possibly fail? After all this is James Gunn we are talking about, the man who is responsible for bringing the d-list "Guardians of the Galaxy" to the big screen. Gunn's 2010 film, "Super" was also a deconstruction of the superhero genre by itself and "Slither" was an excellent homage to old school horror films. Looking back at his past filmography, "Brightburn" seems to be a sure fire culmination of them all. Unfortunately, this is not directed nor written by him.
As mentioned, the script was written by his brothers, who previously worked on "Journey 2", the one with The Rock. Director David Yarovesky who has done nothing really notable, other than a music video for "Guardians of the Galaxy 2" and some horror feature no one's heard before, helms this. Boy, does it really show. For a film that aims to subvert the superhero genre or the mythos, it does nothing new. Instead, the end product is bleak and dire that even out matches the dark DC Snyder-verse, in that area. However, it is also bland and dull.
For some reason, this film has no comedic elements or even fun at all. Although I appreciate it being in full horror territory, the lack of James Gunn's signature tongue in cheek tone is infuriating. It's as if "Brightburn" tries so hard to make fun of and criticize "Man of Steel" but becomes the worse version of it. There are so many elements that Yarovesky and his writers directly lift from "Man of Steel". Heck, even the score sounds similar to Hans Zimmer's epic. However, all these elements felt watered down and it is not way as glorious as it's predecessor.
"Brightburn" feels unusually cheap and I don't mean as a low budget film only. The script is weak and the narrative feels incomplete. Scenes felt like they have not enough shot coverage or footage available. The entire film feels too rushed as a whole. I can't believe that I missed the slower pace of "Man of Steel". There are also weird character decisions that don't make any sense and only seemed to be made for moving on the plot.
Despite the acting being mostly competent, I could not care less about the characters. There is zero character development whatsoever, especially for the evil kid and weirdly enough, there is also no mythology fleshed out at all which leaves a ton of unanswered questions by the end. Additionally, "Brightburn" suffers from most of the same pitfalls of being formulaic and generic as any other modern day horror film. There is an over-reliance on jump scares and cut away from as much from the gore as possible.
Overall, it is really maddening how the film never reached a bit of it's creative potential. What we have got is a bare minimum of a movie that is so subpar to even call it a deconstruction of anything. It should have been over the top, satirical or at least scary. It's funny as an over the top character, played by one of James Gunn's commonly worked with actors, showed up when the credits rolled, leaving you to realise this should have been the tone of the film.
For a better deconstruction of the genre, audiences might want to watch Josh Trank's "Chronicle" instead. Despite my hatred of found footage, I appreciate what Trank was trying to do and it is a proper way to look at the genre differently. Or audiences can just go and watch "Man of Steel" again as flawed as it maybe; Snyder did fleshed out a unique perspective of the character. This on the other hand, is I quote from another reviewer, a cheap one-night-stand that takes all your money and leaves you unsatisfied.
This one, though, adheres a bit strongly towards the basis of Superman. Heck, remember the Man Of Steel scene when Clark runs into the closet at school & the teacher follows him? The one where he uses great vision on the doorknob to prevent the teacher from opening the door of the closet? Remember that? Remember that subtle feeling you had when you thought, "Wait! What if he was evil?" No, not that same cocky feeling you felt during Justice League when Superman is first resurrected & fights the other league members. That one was just a snarky showcasing feather in the cap of that original Man Of Steel closet scene feeling. That MOS moment, though, allotted for you to momentarily race thoughts through your mind about a malicious Superboy gone totally astray from his superhero aim. This movie, here(Brightburn, in case you forgot the page you're on), takes those speeding thoughts & tosses them up in the air like a baseball stolen from the wimpy intelligent kid by the brutal + foolish bully child.
The big thing about this is the fact that neither director, David Yarovesky, nor writers/producers, James Gunn + Mark Gunn + Brian Gunn(truthfully, James produced & gave ideas, while Mark + Brian wrote), are foolish. They are intelligent & able to convey that bully regard in the manner that you'd want to see in fiction, though never hope would ever take place in reality. They play on what worked for MOS, showing the loner child with the loving parents that you hope would be willing to securely step into his own identity without making it seem like a "Could this work?" moment.
Instead, when you see this character begin to come into realization of what he possesses, you see him test out what's possible, though not on the ones whom you'd presumed he would. The devastation caused by him is seen to be a task taken towards those of whom normally doesn't receive the brunt force by most of the villains in traditional Superhero films.
One scene in particular somewhat fully shows what you'd expect to see General Zod conduct against a personal Earthly antagonist of his without Superhero powers(No, not Batman. Think of one of those military colonels). It is shocking, though what preceded it was a slow build to a tactic that proved futile against his preteen self. So, in a weird way, he received his justice. Though the villain loving crowd will cheer at it, the rest of the audience wouldn't help to feel a great deal of nervousness regarding what such a moment will fully unleash for the character.
Is the film perfect? No. Such a thing is as impossible as finding a perfect person. Is the film good? Yes. Such a thing is honestly & strangely needed through this current overrun of Superhero films. Does it look to garner a sequel? The option is strongly open, though I'm sure that the intention is simply to make a one-off film & not a film series. Would I watch it, again? Yes, even more so if viewing it with others whom haven't seen it before. Shoot, I'd do such even with those whom have seen it before, provided that the additional viewers are intelligent & wisely jokeful. Honestly, even if the Gunn family & Yarovesky did make a "spiritual sequel" spinning another the basis of another hero into a nefarious tale, I'd be eager to see where it heads.
From me, Brightburn is granted a 9.3 out of 10. Good work & many thanks, you wonderful actors & Fantastic Foursome.