By Troy Ribeiro
Film: “Brightburn”; Director: David Yarovesky; Cast: Elizabeth Banks, David Denman, Jackson A. Dunn, Matt Jones, Meredith Hagner, Becky Wahlstrom, Emmie Hunter, Gret Alan Williams and Annie Humphrey; Rating: **
The title “Brightburn” refers to a small town in Kansas, US. It is the place where an alien crash lands and is raised with love by a set of perfect, wannabe parents whose prayers of having a child are answered in an unexpected way.
Tori (Elizabeth Banks) and her husband, Kyle (David Denman) feel blessed to have a child gifted by nature. They consider the baby, who arrived out of the sky as Godsend. And for the longest time, their son Brandon Breyer (Jackson A. Dunne) seems like a normal, bright child.
But on the onset of adolescence, when teenage rebellion and hormones run thick, Brandon finds himself vulnerable to circumstances beyond his control. He is suddenly given a new calling, one that will find him using his newfound powers of super-strength, super-speed, heat vision, flight and immunity.
So when the skinny, smart 12-year-old Brandon is harassed by his classmates, he finds less and less reason to play with them. And while he feels they don’t understand him, he soon learns and believes that he is not simply special but superior too especially after, he accidentally throws a lawn mower several yards across a field. Later how he goes about convincing people to accept him, forms the crux of the narrative.
While not exactly original, the premise is certainly interesting and intriguing, the storytelling by Brian Gunn and Mark Gunn, is weak with a lazily crafted plot consisting mostly of cheap jump scares and fake character choices. These prevent the film from being taken seriously.
Also, the film lacks visual stylization or wit to elevate it to respectability. The mask adorned by Brandon, which is apparently meant to be scary, just looks silly.
Apart from this, the film shines with its horror tropes. The horror scenes are gruesomely violent and gory. In fact, they are repulsive to look at, and especially when; a shard of glass is being slowly removed from a person’s eyeball, on another instance, a peek at a nearly severed jaw or when a policeman is blown to smithereens.
Overall, clocking at a brisk 90 minutes of runtime, the film teases but offers nothing exciting to latch on to.