The horror genre has a new hero, or should I say antihero, in Brandon Breyer. Brightburn is an origin story of a kid with superpowers. He falls to Earth in a spaceship, is found and taken in by a couple desperate for a child, and kind of adapts to life here. Think Superman filled with teen angst and hellbent on taking over the world.
Smells Like Teen Spirit
Everything is going fine for Brandon and his parents, Tori and Kyle (Elizabeth Banks and David Denman) at their rural Kansas farm. But when Brandon turns 12, the spaceship that brought him here makes a mental connection with him and he begins to develop his super powers.
Thus far, mom and dad had managed to overlook some odd things like him never getting sick or bleeding or being über smart. They really wanted to be parents. But soon Brandon’s acting out, like crushing a classmate’s hand, shooting lasers out of his eyes, and turning the chicken coop into a Kenny Rogers Roasters.
He gets a two day suspension from school, but, shockingly, that doesn’t seem to positively affect his behavior. In fact, things seem to spiral out of control when you have an unchecked extra-terrestrial super villain with mortal parents.
The characters are often seen drinking beer and wine. They’re gonna need to start a tab!
Oh The Horror
Basically the parents see what they want to, until it’s too late. The aunt, uncle, sheriff, guidance counsellor et al are almost equally stupid. But I’m totally fine with that.
You can’t have a good campy horror story without characters that are, at best, naive. And this film has it in spades!
What I loved about this film is that it is a total formula horror movie, but doesn’t feel formulaic. There are all the best elements of the genre: gory deaths, denial, poor decisions leading to more gory deaths. Yet it doesn’t feel like it’s moving down the checklist of elements.
I watched this and felt completely fine laughing at inappropriate moments and rooting for the bad
guy teen. Why was I rooting for him? Because I want a sequel!
This movie isn’t in the same class as Get Out, it’s more like the original Friday the 13th or Halloween.
And BIG PROPS to Elizabeth Banks for going full on classic Scream Queen during the climactic battle with her adopted alien. She is running through the house panic-yelling to no one in particular. I laughed out loud and am totally here for it.
The Critic’s Cocktail Recommendation
Alien Secretion. There is no way you can get through this film without a stiff drink to calm your nerves and cheers the characters as they make one bad decision after another.