Brightburn is a reimagined take on the Superman story. It asks and answers the question, what if Superman didn’t represent all that was good, but instead was evil? That, for the most part, is the plot of this movie. This is a straight forward, tight 90 minute, horror movie. Brightburn follows a couple desperate to have a child, only to have one crash land in the forest by their farm. Some years later, that boy grows up to be a mighty being with a less than average appreciation for human life. Brightburn is a brutally violent film with some really fun scares.
Elizabeth Banks stars as a desperate woman, longing to have a child of her own. She is what makes this movie work. Banks’ inner conflict of loving this child mixed with her desire to have a child anchors this film from being a ridiculous premise to a realistic take. Elizabeth Banks is authentic and honest in her performance. Her husband in the movie played by David Denman also is persuasive and real in his role. The parents throughout the film choose to ignore the signs pointing to their son’s fall into madness, which in other movies when this happens could come across as frustrating, but here it makes sense. These are two people who have only ever wanted a child and believe they’ve been blessed with a miracle, it’s hard for them to accept what’s really going on with their child.
Jackson A. Dunn is creepy and unsettling. As the superhero gone evil, he gets to play around with serious serial killer vibes. It is always uncomfortable to see a kid turn this evil. This movie really earns its R rating. It depicts really violent murders, that does not hold back on the gore. I was wondering how far they would go with it, and I was thrilled to see they went for it. Keep in mind this is a full out horror movie full jump scares, gross imagery, and a creepy and unsettling atmosphere. The kills and scares are all very satisfying. It’s an interesting take to see someone with this much power abuse it such graphic depiction. I don’t think I have ever seen an unrelentingly brutal superhero movie before.
While Brightburn delivers on its promise of a “Superman gone bad” story, it doesn’t provide much else than that. It doesn’t offer anything new to the horror genre, it’s a fairly standard horror movie. It goes from creepy looking kid to jump scare to bloody murder and does it all in a fairly generic way. Don’t get me wrong, it is very entertaining and would be a lot of fun for horror movie fans But other than reaching its niche group of horror fans, I don’t see this movie reaching out to people outside that group. Which in the movies defense, I don’t think that’s what the filmmakers are going for. Brightburn, as I said, does provide some fun scares, but I never felt like I was on the edge of my seat during its runtime. Yes, I jump in a few scenes and was decently thrilled by Brightburn, it never got to a point where I felt actually scared in the movie. That’s just my opinion; however, I’m sure lots of people could be terrified by this movie.
Brightburn is an entertaining horror movie with a cool premise that pays off. It answers the question of “what if Superman went bad” in a way that will please a lot of fans of this genre. It is worth seeing for its violent kills, an excellent performance by Elizabeth Banks, and all around creepy tone. Once the story gets into motion around the 30-minute marker, Brightburn becomes a fast pace, thrilling exploration of a boy with God-like powers gone evil that builds to a climactic ending.