A simple super villain story with some particularly intense moments of body horror

Brightburn, a superhero/horror crossover with a love of intricate body horror is the brain-child of three of the four famed Gunn brothers. Penned by Brian and Mark, the feature was produced by James, bringing Brightburn a true sense of pressure onto its shoulders.

Tori (Elizabeth Banks) and Kyle (David Denman) pray for a child as they struggle to produce through normal methods. However, after a night of strange lights in the sky and a rumble that disturbs their entire home, the pair have a baby of their own. Yet as young Brandon (Jackson A. Dunn) grows up, he starts to act stranger than most teenagers, possessing strength way beyond even the strongest human.

Brighburn fails to live up to any expectation forced upon it. Needing to offer a good mix of superhero story with horror imagery, there’s a real scarcity of  unique elements, essentially becoming a simple super villain story with some particularly intense moments of body horror. Almost an origin story that just shows some of the bits a Marvel movie couldn’t get away with.


This is without even looking at how poorly constructed the family dynamic is. Brightburn feels as if it were rushed together, trying to hit as short of a run time as possible. There is almost no effort to give the piece a solid beginning, laying very little groundwork before it tries to ramp up the intensity.

Transitioning into the super villain feature it becomes, never does it feel fresh despite its horror inflections. Supplying an 80-20 split in the direction of super hero drama, Brightburn does nothing differently to any other villain origin piece of the last ten years. Far from original, it feels trapped in an unwanted vortex of normality, struggling to pull away from the pack.

It isn’t the film it promised to be, limping over the finish line with little fear, and even less originality. It’s body horror feels unwanted and unneeded, trying to use it as its fear factor, simply ending as a collage of pieces that have worked for other features, but not this one.


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