At one time or another, we have all thought to ourselves: “What if Superman was an evil, sexually confused thirteen-year-old, who decided to annihilate Earth rather than protect it?” David Yarovesky’s Brightburn is the thrilling and gory answer to that question.
Set in the sleepy, fictional town of Brightburn, Kansas, the film explores the life of Brandon Breyer, who was preformed excellently by Jackson A. Dunn. Brandon is a unique young man who crash-landed on Earth as an infant and was found and raised by Tori and Kyle Breyer, who were having difficulty conceiving a child at the time.
For the first ten years of after Brandon’s arrival, life at the Breyer household is as normal as it can get. That is until Tori and Kyle’s worst nightmare comes knocking on their door.
Around the time of his twelfth birthday, Brandon becomes overwhelmed as he begins to experience stalker-ish feelings for a girl in his class as well as hearing voices in his head. Leading Brandon to ponder why he feels different from the others around him. Brandon also finds himself sleepwalking, becoming drawn to the family barn. Unaware that Tori and Kyle are hiding Brandon’s spaceship underneath it.
Everything changes for Brandon as he discovers how “special” he is when he shoves his hand into a running mower blade and stops the blade dead in its tracks with no damage at all to his hand.
This is where Brandon’s path is split with two options: take the world or save it. Tori and Kyle do their best to distract Brandon from these increasingly violent impulses with family activities such as camping and therapy, alas their parental efforts are no match for extraterrestrial devastation.
As the days pass, Brandon quickly goes from an awkward boy with a crush to a bloodthirsty brat with a God complex. Now where the movie excels is with its family dynamic with the Breyers.
The entire time I found myself hoping for a sweet family moment that would bring Brandon to his senses, knowing full well that he was seconds away from snapping someone’s neck. Tori is a perfect mother who will stop at nothing to protect her child while he slaughters the entire town. And Kyle is that supportive father and husband who reevaluates everything once bodies start flying, and boy do they fly.
The film does a decent enough job pacing the gore and violence throughout the movie. I never found myself bored to the point where I needed a kill to keep my attention engaged.
However, what I wish the filmed would have done was take the time to develop Brandon’s character more. Extend his emotional and psychological decline and show the viewer just how tragic it would have been if a sweet boy found out he was an alien and feared by those around him.
The final act of the film is where Brightburn takes its “Oh Shit” dial and cranks it to eleven with the amount of action and violence as Brandon fights off anyone who gets in his way. This is where the film is the most visually appealing as Brandon’s blood-red hood, cape and eyes standout within the darkness.
With a few scenes during the credits that set up a potential sequel, at the end of the day David Yarovesky’s Brightburn is a new and exciting spin on the superpower genre we have come to know and love.