Now that Brightburn is out in cinemas in both the UK and America, the general consensus between the two releases hasn’t changed much; saying that, however, how do I feel about this film after having been invited to a preview screening before its official relase in the UK?
You may or may not know that I am a massive horror fan – I enjoy the scares, the gore and all the gritty, grisely bits in between. Horror is in my blood, and when I found out I was invited to see Brightburn – a twist on the classic Superman premise – immediately I was intrigued, and found myself itching to go.
From the filmmakers who created both Gaurdians of the Galaxy and Slither – the Gunn brothers – I had high hopes for both the storytelling and gor,e but I felt as though I was slightly let down, as if the previous films had succeeded Brightburn.
Now, before I countine on, this is your first and final spoiler warning
…So if you don’t want to be spoiled please do not read this review! For a spoiler free review check out Joe’s review on Brightburn!
So – the story – let me just quickly lay the scene. A young couple yearning to be parents are ‘blessed’ with a child from the heavens; a space child they cared for and loved, until puberty hit (Ironically) – That’s when the trouble began. The young boy known as Brandon Breyer has just turned 12 as of the beginning of Brightburn and after having what seems to be a blissful and lovely family life will be turnt upside down due to the strange spaceship Brandon arrived on awakening, and speaking to the young boy, as if it were possessed by a demon of some form.
He learns that not only has he inherited superhuman powers, but also a touch of invincibility as we learn throughout that he does not bruise nor bleed. During the film we see what was a nice boy transform into a hormonal teen with devastating powers (What a mix huh?). We first see his outburst during his birthday dinner where his uncle gives him a rifle, to where Kyle (Brandon’s father) says something along the lines of “Whoa wait a minute no, he is twelve” – Brandon being angsty demands the rifle, to which Tori (Brandons mother) and Kyle take him home in response.
This is basically the premise of the film; a young boy struggling with his emotions whilst dealing with what basically is the devil telling him to destroy the world at any cost… Long story short, yeah he does eventually reach his goal to some capacity, but does this movie show just how and why he decides to go against humanity?
Throughout the film I noticed that – although there were small reasons as to why he begins to loathe the human world – I found myself wondering why did no one question him? Why didn’t they teach him to respect others, to care and love for each other than to just let puberty destroy his life. Notice that I am referencing puberty a lot? Well if you take away his powers, that is what Brightburn boils down to – He has a love interest called Caitlyn, a sweet girl who in one scene was encouraging and generally being nice to him, whilst the rest of the class outcasts him… But guess what? Puberty!
This is roughly around the time you start, well you know… Having urges and wanting to explore your body as shown when his mother and father find swimsuit magazines underneath his bed alongside photos of very odd, gruesome body parts and organs… Yeah yikes much! It was time for the talk – This part of the film was done well due to the comedy and the acting skills from Kyle (David Denman); his portrayal of ‘the talk’ was done in such a way it felt real; a nervous father explaining to his son that “sometimes you can act on your urges”, and this was all done whilst camping and hunting with his son. Couldn’t be a better time! Bonding, hunting, talking about your junk, and then having the son go to Caitlyn’s house and creeping her the fuck out!
Oh. As it turns out Brandon takes things literally, and wanted to act on impulse and went to see his love interest. Oh Kyle, you should have worded it better! During a class bonding exercise of trust falling, Caitlyn refuses to catch him, resulting in him falling; long story short, she outed him being a creep and in response, you’d think Brandon would just shrug it off, no? Instead he breaks her hand in multiple ways.
This part is critual as it shows that he is willing to hurt thoughs he loves and cares for. This is what in my eyes changes his character – We see just how far Brandon falls down the rabbit hole of hatred and destruction… But I felt this film was missing something. Why didn’t his parents question him? For me that is what made this movie fall short, the lack of ‘why’?
It was only until the end that we actually see Brandon’s character say “I want to do good”, and this one line shows he never wanted to become the monster he is – The simple act of why and telling him no, we must repsect each other, is what brought me out of the immersion. I refuse to belive a loving mother such as Tori wouldn’t sit down with him and just say “What the fuck dude”? Even once they found out (Even though the signs were clearly obvious) that their devil spawn of a child was infact the person killing their friends and family, surely enough they would of tried to do something to help; to understand; to show him love and affection.
…Nope. His dad goes to shoot him in the back of the head. Brilliant. You know, the kid that doesn’t bleed or bruise… Who shoved his hand in a whirring lawnmower blade and destroyed the thing… But you think a rifle shot to the head would kill him? Idiot. Of course during a horror film there will be gore, and considering that the filmmakers who brought us Slither – an interesting yet graphic horror film that came out in 2006 – were behind this film, I was hoping the gore – espically since it is 2019 – would be amazing as I absolutely love gorey films. That being said, however I found it to be a bit lackluster; it was okay. I especially loved when Caitlyn’s mom got glass in her eye and had to pull it out; god that was great – Or even when Noah’s (Brandon’s uncle) jaw snapped right off!
…But for a 2019 film, the gore just hit the mark, but it was enjoyable nonetheless. The death scenes were creative and interesting, but I found myself almost screaming at the screen “Why did you do that?” in relation to Kyle trying to kill his son, or even why Tori never told Brandon straight to his face “What you are doing is wrong, and needs to stop.” instead of just cuddling him and saying “there there”. There were so many times in the movie I felt could have been done better; that being said, the acting played by the cast was spot on, and I thoughly enjoyed the comedy and the serious moments.
…Although I enjoyed the movie, the lack of human interactions and logical thinking wasn’t there, but if you are in the mood for a good ‘Superman gone bad’ film, then this could be the film for you. I would give this movie a good 7/10. This is mainly down to the gore, the cliché puberty storyline and… C’mon Gunn brothers. That ‘Brandon Bryers’ callsign is so the Brand of Sacrifice from Berserk. You ain’t fooling me!