What if a child from another world crash-landed on Earth, but instead of becoming a hero to mankind, he proved to be something far more sinister?
Brightburn is a low budget superhero film that’s produced by James Gunn and written by his brother and his cousin. It’s played out more like a horror which tends to be useful for that genre in my limited experience as it can bring about some decent creativity. It was a film that I was immediately interested in as it had a really interesting concept.
That concept is basically what would happen if Superman were to turn out to be a psychopath. The film really lays the comparison on thick with the small Kansas town setting and probably the first 5 or 10 minutes which feel like they were directly lifted from the Smallville portions of Man of Steel, it’s actually pretty impressive all told.
Cast-wise the only person I really knew going in was Elizabeth Banks and she’s pretty solid as the mother of Brandon Bryer, and the chap who plays the father is also pretty solid, the rest of the cast are serviceable but don’t really have much to do. The obvious standout however is Jackson A Dunn as Brandon, who portrays the creepiness and malice of the character really well.
The special effects are mostly decent and used sparingly as you’d expect for the budget but for the most part, it’s pretty effective with Brandon’s various powers looking believable if nothing else. The only negative is towards the end where there’s a sequence that’s very special effects heavy and it’s a bit silly.
In terms of the overall negatives I’d say that Brandon’s turn from good to evil is rushed and doesn’t necessarily feel very natural, I think it would’ve benefitted from being expanded on and being more gradual. There are some incredibly gory bits which just feel like they’re in there purely for shock value, they add nothing to the overall film.
My biggest issue with the film is its reliance on jump scares. These can be effective when used well but Brightburn uses them too much and therefore after about the second one it stops working, making them largely pointless. Overall it’s a decent film but it really does feel like a missed opportunity for what is a fundamentally awesome concept.
TBG Score: 6/10