When a child from another world named Brandon Breyer (Jackson A. Dunn) suddenly makes a crash landing on Earth, where a family takes him in and raises him. But darkness awaits as he begins to show signs of superpowers and instead of using them for good, he uses them to cause chaos and destruction.
From the opening few frames, it is easy to tell that Yarovesky put a ton of hard work and effort into making this a truly original and unique superhero story. The question of “What if Superman was actually evil?” has been on many people’s minds for years, and this film dives deep into exploring that question.
The first act can be a bit of a drag as it sets up the character of Brandon Breyer and shows him being raised by his adoptive mother and father. While it can be slow, it is to be appreciated as it adds a layer of humanity to the character that perhaps would not be present if these scenes were not in the film. As soon as the second act kicks in is where Brightburn really excels in delivering a truly inventive and horrifying story that never lets up.
All of the action sequences are filmed in a clever way, similar to the style used in the 2008 film Hancock. What helps these moments become even more memorable is the element of horror in them. The cinematography by Michael Dallatore accompanied with the themes by Timothy Williams often make for bone-chilling and effective thrills. Those that were wondering about the amount of fun present here need not worry.
By far the biggest flaw with this picture is its pacing. Since the final running time clocks in at only ninety minutes, many scenes often feel rushed to get to the more exciting scenes. It would have definitely been nice to have had a more juicier running time, that way the audience could feel that much more invested in the world and the characters, which leads right into the other flaw with the film.
There is not too much in the way of development with the characters besides Brandon. They spent a little bit of time with his adoptive family in the first act, but after that they become side thoughts. It is certainly a ton of fun to see a ton of mayhem ensue, but there should have been some emotional attachment to the other characters to make us feel like we care about them. Brightburn is a thrilling and delightfully creepy experience with lots of fun to be had, but often lacks in the department of character development and world building.
Overall Grade: B+
MPAA Rating: Rated R for horror violence/bloody images, and language
Cast: Elizabeth Banks, David Denman, Jackson A. Dunn, Matt Jones, Meredith Hagner, Gregory Alan Williams, Jennifer Holland, Steve Agee, Becky Wahlstrom, Christian Finlayson
Directed by: David Yarovesky
Distributed by: Sony Pictures Releasing
Running Time: 90 minutes