Spoilers will fly up, up and away.
Taking a well-known premise from a famous IP out of its original context and centering it on a different genre makes for an interesting experiment. In this case, this is a classic comic book hero origin with a twist into the horror genre. Unfortunately, it feels like an average horror movie plot of jumpscares where everything is already laid out for you to know. I was hoping for more.
Brightburn (2019) was directed by David Yarovesky and written by Brian Gunn and Mark Gunn. The Breyers, Tori (Elizabeth Banks) and Kyle (David Denman), cannot have children. One night an alien craft lands on their farm, its only an occupant looks to be a human baby. Ten years later, Brandon (Jackson A. Dunn) is growing up as their son. He’s bright but aloof. Something seems to be calling him to do certain things.
Okey… So I am not fond of giving out every single spoiler out there. This movie, however, has no issues giving away plot points straight from the beginning. Brandon’s origin is out from the first opening scene. He starts to be drawn to something in the barn right away. He’s also already drawing a symbol and shortly after, he hears a voice that he translates almost immediately to “Take the world”. There’s really not much mystery kept even before the first body hits the floor.
This puts me in one of my least movie-watching scenarios: waiting for the people on the movie to catch on to everything the audience already knows. That doesn’t make for a really satisfying movie experience. I could be generous and think this is because the movie is going into all-out violence and gore. Nope, we’re still playing cat and mouse with jumpscares. To top it off, I found it impossible to take Brandon seriously with a makeshift mask and cape. That hardly makes for a monster reveal.
I found Kyle (David Denman)’s behavior jarring. He completely turns against his son the moment he has enough reasons to doubt him. He’s been his father for ten years, but in a zinch he’s ready to bring him down. Tori (Elizabeth Banks) has a much more believable reaction of resisting the evidence and standing by his son, for a while at least. Then she too, thinks about taking him down. I did enjoy Banks’ performance before her turn, it was far more nuanced and conflicted as a mother doubting, but still loving, her son.
Lightly recommended for fans of comic book films with reservations. Elizabeth Banks plays the strongest role here. My reservation is that you’re basically going to see an average horror film. Once the premise is established, the movie squanders all mystery and runs out of ideas. It basically becomes a monster film in which the lights flicker, doors open and we already know the creature is a 10-year old wearing a ridiculous mask and cape. It’s a What If? scenario that was not executed to its best potential.
That will do for now.