Review: You Don’t Need X-Ray Vision To See Through BRIGHTBURN


Brightburn has a great premise and solid execution, but instead of being super, it feels super disappointing because it is predictable and often uninteresting.
Technical Merit

Brightburn is a new horror film directed by David Yarovesky (The Hive) and produced by James Gunn (Guardians of the Galaxy). The movie is about a boy who, shortly after his twelfth birthday, discovers that he was adopted by his family after crash landing on Earth in a mysterious spaceship, sending him into a violent rage.

The story of the film is undeniably intriguing, and an idea which many comic fans have explored in their minds. It isn’t uncommon for comics to present alternate realities in which the superheroes find themselves in different circumstances that result in them exhibiting different behaviors. For example, the DC mini-series Superman: Red Son has a story similar to this one and was widely acclaimed.

Unfortunately, the movie fails to do anything with that appealing premise. There is so much room for the film to have been more than what it is, such as actually having something to say, but instead, the movie feels straightforward and bland. Also extremely frustrating is the fact that what is basically the entirety of the film’s story (along with all of the most fun moments), were revealed in the trailers.

Additionally, the movie struggles to create characters that are particularly sympathetic. The film obviously wants the main character, Brandon, to feel like he is in a moral grey area, and doesn’t succeed in so doing. It is easy to see Brandon’s evil, but there isn’t enough done to make him compelling. We needed to see more good within him for him to have a compelling arc. Brandon’s parents, on the other hand, are mostly likable, but show very little growth until the very end of the movie.

Mrs. Breyer (Elizabeth Banks) in Screen Gems’ BRIGHTBURN. Credit: Boris Martin. Courtesy Sony Pictures. © 2019 CTMG, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

However, perhaps the single biggest issue with this film is that it can’t fully decide what it wants to be. The movie frequently attempts to go full horror, and these moments don’t work particularly well. Even the jump scares are ineffective for the most part, with only one being truly surprising and startling. The film is at its best when it tries to go for a more atmospheric thriller vibe, but those moments are few and far between.

That being said, although the script was disappointing, the execution was very impressive and almost makes it worth seeing the movie. The visuals are great, especially for a low-budget horror film. One or two CGI shots aren’t quite up to par, but there are a ton of cool visuals throughout. The scene in the diner (sadly shown by the trailers nearly in its entirety) is likely the best part of the movie, with a ton of creative cinematography.

The actors all do a solid job in the film too. Elizabeth Banks and David Denman have great chemistry together. Although their respective emotionally-driven moments are a bit over-the-top, they do fit their characters quite well. The child actor, Jackson A. Dunn, is great in his role. His ability to convey emotions with few lines was quite impressive.

Overall, Brightburn was a largely disappointing movie. Although it looks pretty great, the story is sorely lacking and fails to take advantage of its potential. General audiences will be bored and superhero fans will be better off waiting for Freaks to see a superhero horror film.

Brightburn is now playing in theaters.


Devs | Dating Preview | FX

This changes everything. Watch DEVS exclusively on FX on Hulu – Streaming March 5. Subscribe now for more Devs clips: Devs follows the story of a young software engineer, Lily Chan, who investigates the secretive development division of her employer which she believes is behind her boyfriend's murder. Devs stars Sonoya Mizuno, Nick Offerman,…

It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia | Season 12 Ep. 8: Valentine’s Day Gift Highlight | FXX

You can hate Valentine's Day and still love your gift. Subscribe now for more It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia clips: In the 14th Season of It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia, the Gang goes to extremes. Mac learns a new language, Charlie does a period piece, Dennis attempts a one-act play, Dee cuts her hair,…

Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel | The Fighter ft. Patrick Day (Clip) | HBO

Boxer Patrick Day’s trainer, family, and opponent grapple with the aftermath of his death in the ring in October 2019. Real Sports is all-new Tuesday, February 25 at 10PM on HBO. #RealSports #HBO Subscribe to HBO on YouTube: Real Sports is television’s most-honored sports journalism program, and received last May its 19th Sports Emmy®…

Power Book II: Ghost | First Look Tease | STARZ

A new chapter begins this summer on @STARZ. #PowerBook2 #STARZ Subscribe to the STARZ YouTube Channel for more Power: Get your free trial of the STARZ app: Like Power on Facebook: Follow Power on Twitter: Follow Power on Instagram: Like STARZ on Facebook: Follow STARZ on Twitter: Follow…

Katy Keene | Season 1 Episode 2 | Looking For A Sign Scene | The CW

Watch new episodes on Thursdays and stream Katy Keene from the beginning, free only on The CW app: SUBSCRIBE: About KATY KEENE: Fashion legend-to-be Katy Keene (Lucy Hale), singer/songwriter Josie McCoy (Ashleigh Murray), performer Jorge Lopez/Ginger, and “It Girl” Pepper Smith — as they chase their twenty-something dreams in New York City…together. Connect…

Better Things | Season 4: Gobbler Teaser | FX

There are no private parts to Sam's family. The all-new season of Better Things premieres 3/5 on FX. Next day on FX on Hulu. Subscribe now for more Better Things clips: Better Things is the story of Sam Fox, a single mother and working actor with no filter, raising her three daughters in Los…

Lana Condor Pies Noah Centineo in the Face | To All the Boys Trivia | Netflix

Lana Condor, Jordan Fisher and Noah Centineo put their To All the Boys knowledge to the test - one wrong answer could lead to whip cream in the face! Watch To All The Boys: P.S. I Still Love You, only on Netflix: SUBSCRIBE: About Netflix: Netflix is the world's leading streaming entertainment service…

The Boys: The SWEETEST Starlight + Hughie Moments | Prime Video

Hating supes and dating supes doesn't usually mix unless you're Hughie and Starlight on The Boys, in which case, we love to see it. » Watch The Boys now exclusively with your Prime membership: » SUBSCRIBE: About The Boys: The Boys is an irreverent take on what happens when superheroes, who are as…
Sean Boelman
Sean is a film student, aspiring filmmaker, and life-long cinephile. For as long as he can remember, he has always loved film, but he credits the film Pan's Labyrinth as having started his love of film as art. Sean enjoys watching many types of films, although some personal favorite genres include dramatic comedies, romantic comedies, heist films, and art horror.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here