May 24-2019
‘Brightburn’: topples the superhero narrative on its head

How do you repackage the beaten-to-the-hilt and all too familiar creepy child formulaic plot and stand out? Well throw in a gratuitous slant of ‘Superhero’ and camera tricks that suddenly creep up on you with timely howlers and ghostly tension music in a bid to elicit the scares out of you and there you have it; a poorly crafted shlock that seemingly pays a tribute to the movie Orphan but this time it’s the unusual boy that stirs up a storm.


Parents daftly ignore the obvious signs of trouble in the beginning either out of blind parental love or sheer inability of joining the dots (perhaps in service of plot development) The screenplay in the beginning serves a plate full of aha moments, rushing in without much depth or character development. Although one can scratch the surface to find some vague justifications for the evils unleashed by the alien boy. Not being accepted by his love-interest, being lied to about his origins and all that malarkey burning the vengeance deep and bright in his glow-red eyes.

Bright Burn

James Gunn supplants the concept of inducing fear with cringeworthy gristle and gore sequences; one of which includes a shard of glass flying right into the jelly of the eye leading to a splatter of blood that is aimed to send chills down your spine but ends up giving you impulses to barf.

Not content with it, the movie ends up on a terribly gloomy note that offers very little catharsis leaving you wondering whether the writers had indolently written it on a wafer-thin cloth much like the ragged cape the alien boy incongruently dons in this movie. The trope of a supernatural non-human superhero was once witnessed in the Batman vs Superman story that alerts us to the collateral damage a strenuous zip-zap could lead to but this sub-genre just doesn’t stack up.

Can unbridled evil make you a ‘superhero’? Superheroes must have some redeeming attributes but here we have blood-thirsty psychopathy laying waste to almost all the characters with his apathetic sardonicism that is not characteristic of a 12 year old. Superheroes don’t scare per se. Scaring is not the function of superheroes. 

VFX

The  VFX sphere, supervised by Dietrich Hasse, does create the required atmosphere and errieness for the horror movie genre. The night sky, the glow red beams, the crafty rush effects that sneak up on you dials up the fright quotient. The usage of chroma screens to depict the levitation is seamless. The movie scores high on the VFX quotient. But superior VFX only do so much to buttress what seemed like a crumbling screenplay. We will keep you updated on the VFX aspect of the movie.

The review is jointly written by Parth Kaushik and Poonam Mondol