Skip to content

Film Review: Brightburn (2019)

Brightburn (2019) is a horror film that blends with the comic book genre. Directed by David Yarovesky, this film is produced by James Gunn of Guardians of the Galaxy fame. This film stars David Denman, Jackson A. Dunn and Elizabeth Banks, which explores the idea of what would happen if Superman was evil. When Tori (Banks) and Kyle (Denman) struggle to have a kid, something extraordinary blasts down into the land which will change their lives.

Brightburn (2019) – source: Sony Pictures
What made me interested in this film was the premise, which is still intriguing to me. It is rare that the comic book genre goes down a dark route, and Superman is a great character to imagine going evil, especially because of his powers and heritage. James Gunn is also a fantastic person to have back the idea, coming from someone who is now part of both Marvel and DC and directing films for both companies. He puts care and attention into the comic book franchise, and having his name attached to this product is strong.
The characterisation throughout the film is very strong. Unlike a lot of smaller films, I did not find any of the victims to play dumb or make stupid mistakes. They all seemed incredibly smart, and if they felt dumb and filtered, it came from a place of blind belief and love. Elizabeth Banks’ character Tori was the main culprit of this, but I found it believable. You find out how much she struggled to become a mother, so it only makes sense that she has a filter to believe that the boy that came into her life is innocent and lovely. She does not want to believe anyone else, even her own husband.
For a small budget horror film, I found this visuals to be excellent. When Brandon Breyer (played by Dunn) shows any elements of horror, the action is well shot and choreographed. I particularly love the scene in the diner, and the ending sequence looks quite high budget for a film like this. It was a bold move to end a movie like this the way that they did, but I am glad that they took that risk because the ending paid off and showed truly how powerful an evil Superman could be.
Brightburn (2019) – source: Sony Pictures
With that said though, there are some problems with the film, particularly with the pacing. This film is exactly 90 minutes, which is quite a short run time. It flew by quickly, but almost too quickly for a film like this. They have a small amount of exposition setting up the parents and their situation, but little about Brandon and his background. I think it would have been better if they went down one of two routes. Either they needed more exposition, so as an audience member we know more about his background and what makes him tick, or not know anything about his background and make it a big reveal that he is actually not from this world.
I also found issues with how little time we get to see Brandon at his full potential. We only get a few sequences of him being powerful and evil, and only for the last 10-15 minutes do we get Brandon truly cause destruction and damage. There is so much that can be done with this idea, and I feel like we needed another 20 minutes added onto the film to see his full potential.
There are also several side plots that were introduced, but felt rushed and not done to their full potential. An example of this includes a sub story between Brandon and the people in his class. We get connections between him and one girl, but we also see that other classmates are bullying him. There seems to be no conclusion to that sub-plot, and I would have been interested to continue seeing more of that side of the film, rather than just the troubles in the family.
Brightburn (2019) – source: Sony Pictures
Overall, I think this is a decent horror movie with great sequences and a fantastic idea. I understand the actions of all of the characters, but unfortunately the concept is simply stronger than the execution. There is so much more they could do with the basic idea that they don’t even touch on, and you only get to see his full potential for the last 15 minutes of the film. I would still recommend checking out the film, as the idea is clever and it is a nice little horror film.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: