“Maybe we need to talk to somebody. He needs, uh, like a, specialist.”
“What?! And say what to ‘em?”
“I don’t know!”
“‘Hello, this is our son. We found him in a f*cking spaceship in the woods. Now what?’
“No! We should have done something a long time ago! This is on us!”
The above quote shouldn’t be a spoiler for anyone who’s seen Brightburn’s trailer. Hell, even the one sheet gives the game away.
Take The Bad Seed, the idea that a child can be a scheming, conniving killer, and graft some spandex superhero origin story onto it, and you get Brightburn.
Or, to use 21st century Hollywood pitchspeak, it’s Superman as an evil child horror movie.
What if a loving yet childless couple finds an infant under bizarre circumstances?
What if that child (which, after 81 years of conditioning, we’re led to believe will grow up to be a paragon of virtue) turns out not the way we hope or expect?
For longtime comic book readers, this is certainly not a new and novel concept.
But in this day and age of the box office supremacy of superheroes, any story that carries even the whiff of subversion (such as, say, Amazon’s adaptation of The Boys, which doesn’t so much as carry a whiff but reek of it) is certainly welcome, if only to mix things up and offer decidedly different flavours to the cinematic buffet that very quickly tastes all the same, all the time.
And while there is some effective horror and some brief, yet standout gore, what really sells Brightburn are the performances of Elizabeth Banks and David Denman, who play the loving yet childless couple, the Breyers.
Instead of rearing a superhero for the ages though (and through no real fault of their own), they find, to their horror, that their little bundle of joy is anything but.
(Brightburn OS courtesy of impawards.com.)