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Film Review: Brightburn

“You Are Different. After Your Dad And I Got Married We Prayed For A Baby For So Long. One Night, Someone Listened…”

Sold as the movie which shows what would happen if the mighty Superman went bad, Brightburn is the latest cinematic baby from Guardians of the Galaxy director, James Gunn, who returns to the genre of horror in a production capacity once again after the horrendously violent and ideas-laden, The Belko Experiment from 2016Directed by the relatively unknown, David Yarovesky, and featuring a screenplay from Mark and Brian Gunn, the cousin and brother of James, Brightburn is a rare cinematic case of a movie which knows the boundaries of its’ central idea and simply runs with it for just long enough to stretch out an entire feature film, a very knowing and impressively gruesome B-movie horror which in some ways, fits the ilk of late 1970’s horror genre classics as it arrives, shows its’ hand and then gleefully leaves, all within the refreshing space of just over ninety minutes.   

Set within the titular town of Brightburn, Kansas, Yarovesky’s movie begins with a blistering pace, introducing both Elizabeth Banks (The Hunger Games) and David Denman (Logan Lucky) as loving married couple, Tori and Kyle Breyer, whose wish for a child of their own is soon granted upon them when an alien spacecraft crash lands into their nearby woods carrying what seems to be a male infant who they readily take in as their own. Cue a twelve year time-jump, and such an infant has now grown into the form of Jackson A. Dunn’s Brandon, an intelligent, lonesome outsider who not only seems to have taken fashion advice from both Damien and Danny Torrence from The Omen and The Shining respectively, but also soon realises that he may have a bigger, and more violent, purpose on Earth, contrary to the attempts by his parents to keep him as human as possible. With a satisfyingly nasty streak and bearing a similar sort of nihilism seen within Gunn’s previous R-rated project, The Belko Experiment, Brightburn may lack any form of tangible substance, but what it lacks in depth it more than makes up for in good old fashioned genre madness, and whilst Yarovesky’s movie won’t linger for long in the memory, the impressive horror elements and a sharp technical nuance mean that the American’s big screen directorial debut is fun whilst it lasts but nothing more.

Overall Score: 6/10