What if Superman came to earth and was evil? If you are familiar with his universe, what if Zod was sent to our planet instead of Superman as a baby? The outcome is David Yarovesky’s smart, thrilling, and very gory BRIGHTBURN.
BRIGHTBURN is a clear homage to Superman. It has the backdrop of his origins (even takes place in a fictitious town in the same state Superman grew up in, Kansas) — a spaceship with a baby boy lands on a small town farm and a married couple take him in as their own. The problem here is their child, Brandon Breyer (Jackson A. Dunn, sporting a superhero iterated alter ego name like Peter Parker or Wade Wilson), is one evil son of a bitch.
It’s clear writer's Brian and Mark Gunn (James’s brothers?) liked Zach Snyder’s MAN OF STEEL and BATMAN V SUPERMAN’s theory of how humans would react once they found out there’s an invincible “alien” on earth, and what he could do. The took that, spun it to human’s worst fear: anything he wants.
Brandon is a super-villain and just a kid, but Yarovesky does not shy away from the terror he will cause at the age of 12. He’s not handling puberty well, he’s got superpowers, and he’s invincible. He’s worse than a parent's worst nightmare.
BRIGHTBURN did not screen for critics in most places (including my home, Dallas, TX), which I find odd because it’s not a bad movie (not screening for critics in advance is usually a bad sign). It’s predictable, and I wonder how great it would have been if Jason Blum (producer of Halloween 2018, Get Out) was involved, but BRIGHTBURN is clever, fun, and if you’re into gore, there’s plenty of that to keep you satisfied.