Film Review – Brightburn (2019)

Title – Brightburn (2019)

Director – David Yarovesky (The Hive)

Cast – Elizabeth Banks, Jackson A. Dunn, David Denman, Matt Jones

Plot – Married couple Tori (Banks) and Kyle Breyer (Denman) begin to question whether their son Brandon (Dunn) is the innocent child they thought he was, as the boy they discovered crash landed in their property in a space craft as a baby shows a previously unseen anger and hatred.

“Take the world”

Review by Eddie on 28/08/2019

There is no denying that Brightburn’s premise is one to get excited about, clearly appealing to those in the know such as well-liked filmmaker and Guardians of the Galaxy mastermind James Gunn who backed this film in from the get-go, but sadly director David Yarovesky’s film is nothing more than a disappointment outside of a few neat scenes and half-cooked ideas, that never create the film Brightburn could’ve been had the stars aligned.

Doing a lot with a small budget in regards to set-pieces, Brightburn has some fantastic individual scenes that will appeal to gore hounds in particular as Yarovesky doesn’t shy away from the dark and blood-filled nature of his supervillain film done the way of the horror genre but with an abhorrently obvious lack of character development and equal amounts dim-witted character motivations and reactions, it’s hard to get invested in a film that appears to have forgotten all the other important features outside of its winning premise.

As the much hyped trailer suggested, Brightburn offers a nice alternative to a marketplace jam-packed with generic superheros that may have their flaws but mostly do the good deeds required of them to save the planet and its citizens, as in this film we follow Jackson A. Dunn’s evil child from another planet Brandon Breyer’s who utilises his otherworldly powers for bad rather than good as his two supportive but concerned parents Kyle and Tori ignorantly ignore the fact their adopted little troublemaker is perhaps not the ideal son.

Unfortunately for the film, Brandon is a bit of a wet-blanket of a central figure, we are supposed to hate him, that much is clear but there’s no real explanation for why Brandon has decided to become a vicious murderer and it makes viewing his increasingly bloodthirsty incidents a curiously uninvolving affair, even if some sequences such as Brandon’s visit to a late night diner or his uncle’s house have their moments that appear too be from a much more thrilling and engaging affair.

As his parents, Elizabeth Banks and David Denman get a rather short straw as well. Both Tori and Kyle are likeable enough but there reactions to Brandon’s frequent and ramped up actions of defiance and strength are quite bizarre and it won’t be too long into the film where you’ll start questioning if they are in fact blind to the bleeding obvious as Banks and Denman get stuck with some of the film’s most awkward and eye-rolling dialogue and moments.

For Brightburn to have truly enacted upon its promising concept and moments of engagement its characters needed far more love and care, with no thoughts one way or the other about any of our protagonists fate or with Brandon’s quickly established quiet boy turned mass murderer setting the film up to fail, this is a film that stood very little chance of achieving its goals, showcased in a set of end credit scenes that are far better than much of what had come before it.

Final Say –

A wickedly inventive set-up and some ingeniously constructed blood soaked moments aren’t enough to save this cold and heartless disappointment from mediocrity, with Brightburn burning out not long after the opening credits have rolled.

2 glass shards out of 5    

16 responses to “Film Review – Brightburn (2019)

  1. I seem to be in the minority of people that really enjoyed Brightburn (3.5/5 for me). I agree the villain could have been developed more. But as a twisted super horror it was a fun time.

  2. If you want a better execution of a Superman gone band, then you should check out The Boys’ character, Highlander. That concept is executed in such a more grounded and realistic way.

      • It’s 8 episodes long with each episode lasting an hour, it’s the perfect run time to tell that type of story and still leave you wanting more… I can’t recommend the show enough.

      • Second this. The Boys was well worth the time. I don’t usually watch shows since they’re a real time commitment but I loved every minute. Can’t wait for S2!

    • I absolutely agree with this. Brilliantly handled, a nice spin on Dr Manhattan gone bad too. Superman was noble, and Dr Manhattan a smart Scientist Become God, whereas Highlander is really just a jerk like any of us, given powers he doesn’t deserve.

  3. I thought this movie was good (not great). Had potential and some stuff was quite interesting. My biggest gripe was the actual “turn to evil” for Brandon. Could’ve been something truly great in dissecting “being hero or villain”, but the film just finds the easy way out.

    • I found it just all kind of happened mate, with very little thought or explanation. Some scenes individually were really good, but I had zero investment in any of the characters.
      E

  4. I can’t say I was particularly excited to see this movie, but I was interested as a horror fan and as someone who wanted something new in the superhero genre. In all honesty, it was a pretty boring experience, and I remember seeing it pretty late at night and having to fight the urge to fall asleep. And apart from already being tired, it was a genuinely tiresome experience to watch this film.

    I should have kept a snore-meter. Oh well.

    • I really struggled to stay interested in this one mate, I couldn’t believe the lack of development or care about its construction.
      E

      • I laughed when he threw the lawnmower. Reminded me of that gif where someone rigged a high-power remote control plane to a lawnmower case and flew it around. Couldn’t help but lose it in the theater lol

  5. I love the high-concept premise but as the captain of the firing squad likes to say, “Execution is everything”. And the execution of the concept was terrible. Unremarkable and mostly clueless victims, implausibly blind-to-their-adopted son’s obvious descent into a purely evil killer parents and a slow-to-react sheriff killed the promising premise.

    We reviewed this film along with “Dark Phoenix” in episode #8 of our “The Movie Review Show” on YouTube.

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