After one crazy weekend in LA, I then went to Chicago for another crazy one. I was there to support a very close friend of mine who was defending his thesis, and I explicitly told him not to worry about me when I got into town. I’d entertain myself and would meet him at the defense the next day. It sounds like I was being thoughtful, but really I just wanted to make sure I got my movies in for the weekend. Memorial Day weekend, no less. Several big movies to see. Starting with Brightburn.
I absolutely LOVED the concept of this. What if when Kal-El crashed landed in Smallville Kansas, he actually had some evil lurking inside him. And despite the love and best efforts from Ma and Pa Kent, he didn’t turn into Superman. He turned into something sinister. That’s basically Brightburn, if they shuffled around the proper nouns Dracula/Nosferatu style. There’s so much potential in that premise, but unfortunately, the film didn’t live up to any of them.
First problem was that the movie was very rushed. The 90 minutes could easily have gone on longer with more details fleshed out. This wasn’t nearly enough time to dive into anything. For starters, we didn’t go deep enough into lil Brandon’s psyche. That for me is always the most interesting part when we get a story from a villain’s perspective: what drives them and how does their mind work? We barely got any of that. Some disturbing illustrations and a scary voice but very little motivation. For the main character in the film he felt rather flat and two dimensional.
So that was a pitfall, but it still could have been saved. There were some great moments of horror in this. Some gruesome gore and terrifying suspense. Motivation is less important if you’ve got some good scares. But unfortunately again, they were only moments. They didn’t really commit and lean in to the horror route, it was more of a tease. Actually more of a oh-we-can-do-this-do-we-want-to-we-dont-know. Therefore, I wouldn’t actually classify this as horror then.
What I think could have been really cool is if they focused on the story from Elizabeth Banks’ perspective as the mother. A sort of We Need To Talk About Brightburn type of film. I think that could have been something very special. I really liked her character and thought that angle would have been something interesting to explore. For me she was the strongest element of the film, and that could have taken the film to the next level.
Alas none of these options played out, and we were left with something that was wholly unsatisfying. I’m not being as harsh on this as some of the reviews I’ve read (or watched on Stardust) but I’m still highly disappointed at the lost potential. I still found it watchable, but it was in no way as strong as it could have been.
Brightburn – \m/ \m/ \m/