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? With Brightburn, the visionary filmmaker of Guardians of the Galaxy and Slither presents a startling, subversive take on a radical new genre: superhero horror.
What We Thought:
Brightburn was a film I wanted to see at theaters, but didn’t get to. I loved the idea of taking the Superman mythos and flipping it from superhero to villain. It’s the exact premise as Superman, a couple in a small Kansas town find a baby that crashed landed on Earth from space, raise him as their own and one day he realizes he’s special. But instead of being the mild Clark Kent becoming the Man of Steel, Brandon hits puberty and decides he must take over the world.
The movie isn’t quite the home run I thought it would be, but overall I did like it. Even though it’s only produced by James Gunn, you can feel his vibe in the movie. Well his earlier vibe at least. His pre-Guardians of the Galaxy days saw films like Slither and Super and this fits the tone of those movies. It has comedic elements and is dark and twisted. I’m not sure if I’m familiar with any of director David Yarovesky’s previous work, but he’s definitely a disciple of Gunn. The film looks like a Gunn flick. It’s paced like a Gunn flick. It features Gunn staples like Elizabeth Banks and Michael Rooker. So basically if you like James Gunn, you’ll like this.
I thought the actor playing Brandon, Jackson A. Dunn, was really good. With projects like Stranger Things, Good Boys, Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark we are getting a big surge in kid actors and Jackson holds your attention throughout the movie. A different young actor might not have been able to handle the range of emotion and lack of emotion at times and Dunn really looked creepy as well. He held his own opposite veteran actors like Banks and David Denman.
I’m curious to see how Brightburn is looked at down the road. It didn’t go gangbusters at the box office, but was it supposed to? At a budget around $6 million, it’s more a low budget studio film that isn’t expected to do huge numbers, but it did do over $30 million worldwide. So is that a nice return on investment or were they hoping it would end up like a Blumhouse flick that does $100 million with similar budget? It’s technically in the superhero/comic genre so were they hoping it would catch on with an audience and do big numbers that way too? Did James Gunn’s name on it hurt it because of his controversy? Who knows? I can see it finding an audience on home video and streaming though and can see a lot of people enjoying it. I liked it and will tell people I know to see if if they haven’t already.
CAST AND CREW
Director: David Yarovesky
Executive Producers: Brian Gunn, Mark Gunn, Simon Hatt, Dan Clifton, Nic Crawley, Kent Huang
Producers: James Gunn, Kenneth Huang
Screenplay By: Brian Gunn & Mark Gunn
Cast: Elizabeth Banks (HUNGER GAMES franchise), David Denman (“The Office”), Jackson A. Dunn (AVENGERS: ENDGAME), Matt Jones (“Mom”) and Meredith Hagner (“Younger”)
Run Time: 90 minutes
Rating: Rated R for Horror Violence/Bloody Images, and Language