I Wrote my First Movie Review While Giving Birth to a Camera. It has followed me ever since. Please don't mind the Mess.
R for Red all Over
Brian Gunn and Mark Gunn
This Memorial Day, you have a multitude of movie choices this weekend. And by multitude, I mean 3, provided you’ve already seen John Wick 3. If you haven’t, you should. I know that one of your choices is the live-action Aladdin, which really isn’t a choice at all, unless you’re really into Oreos.
However if you’re looking to see something with murderous underage people but don’t feel like looking at the news to see which school was shot up by which kid, then Brightburn may just be the Memorial Day massacre you were looking for. Brightburn was supposed to be released last November, but because of the fake controversy surrounding producer James Gunn’s tweets, got moved to this weekend.
Oddly enough, the upcoming Dark Phoenix was also supposed to be released in November but got moved to February and now June simply because it looks bad.
But enough about the negative, let’s move on to the fun, violent, gory take on the Superman legend because if there’s something that we need, it’s more movies about superheroes
Brightburn opens in 2006 in the city of Brightburn, Kansas. This bodes well because Brightburn is a much better title for a horror movie than Kansas. We meet Tori and Kyle Breyer (Elizabeth Banks and David Denman- Banks plays Tori and Denman plays Kyle in case you had trouble figuring that out).
Their bookshelves are filled with books on how to have a kid. This leads the viewer to believe they are trying to have a kid. Their opening dialogue consists of having sex, presumably because they want to have a kid.
Then something happens.
No, not sex. A huge light emanates from the outside, then something crashes into the Breyer backyard, and we…
Flash forward 12 years later.
The Breyers have a healthy boy by the name of Brandon (Jackson A. Dunn). I guess the sex-for-procreation worked. Or did it?
Brandon is your average kid. Actually, he’s above average. Exceptional even. He’s smart, almost genius level. Enough that he gets ostracized at school for being more intelligent than the average Kansas hayseed. Brandon knows that a live-action Aladdin is just a bad idea all around.
It’s his 12th birthday and his aunt and uncle give him a rifle as a present. I have to assume this is a 12th birthday present all kids in the Midwest get. Kyle isn’t ready for his kid to have a gun yet. Brandon really wants his gun and demands it from Kyle. Kyle and Tori aren’t having it.
Kyle and Tori know that Brandon is going through puberty and that this is just a phase. Brandon used to be such a nice boy.
Along with an having an attitude, Brandon has now taken to sleepwalking. Tori catches him at the barn while he’s asleep trying to open a door with a huge lock on it that in no way will be important later in the movie.
Kyle does his best to relate to Brandon while his body is going through changes. He tells Brandon that he’ll start liking girls and it’s okay to touch his own penis. I wish Kyle was my dad. Kyle and Tori then find Brandon’s porn stash which contains pictures of things that maybe shouldn’t be in the average human boy’s porn stash.
Maybe Brandon isn’t average. Maybe Brandon isn’t human. Maybe Brandon doesn’t like it when you call him a pervert because he’s staring at you through your window that’s 2 stories up. Maybe it’s just an offshoot of puberty to stick your hand in an operating lawnmower and have the blades break.
Okay, that last part isn’t normal.
The Breyers now need to fill their bookshelves with books on what to do if your kid is an evil alien because something inside the barn is calling to Brandon. A simple lock won’t stop Brandon. And neither will anything nor anyone else.
This is why white people scare me.
- A scene set in a diner is milked for maximum tension and gore. Even if you know where most of the scene is going, director David Yarovesky keeps the viewers off balance enough to earn a well-placed “Eww” from the audience
- Acting-wise Elizabeth Banks does most of the heavy lifting as a mother who loves her child even while realizing her love may not stop him from his brutality against Brightburn, and then maybe the world.
- Gore hounds rejoice as Brightburn more than earns its R rating. If you eat macaroni during your Memorial Day Barbecue, let’s just say you’ll be eating it onscreen as well.
- Exponentially better than The Prodigy, the other Creepy Kid movie released last February. Brandon would slap the stuffing out of Miles, which is also a movie I would pay to watch.
- It’s not Aladdin.
- At its worst, Brightburn is just your typical origin story. We’ve already had a terrible origin story this year (looking at you, Glass), a middling origin story (Captain Marvel, cough, cough) and now we’ve got a good origin story with some above-average horror. Story-wise, Brian and Mark Gunn script shows us nothing new, but that doesn’t mean you won’t have a fun time.
Entertaining and gruesome, Brightburn gives you exactly what you expect and nothing more. Seeing a kid in a cape and a mask is a much better choice than seeing Will Smith blue.