Does Brightburn have the potential to become a horror franchise?


This weekend the first horror movie of the summer arrives in the shape of Brightburn. It’s a film that begs the question, what if Superman was evil?

Brightburn sounds familiar. Something comes crashing down from the sky on a Kansas farm. It appears to be a meteor, but upon further inspection, a couple finds a newborn infant inside an alien ship. Having always wanted a baby themselves but never able to conceive, the couple decides to adopt the child.

As he grows older, the boy begins experiencing strange new abilities like invincibility, super-speed, and even flying. It’s the Superman origin story, except in the Gunn family version, this Superman is evil.

The following article contains MAJOR SPOILERS for the film Brightburn, don’t continue reading if you haven’t seen the movie yet!

Brandon Beyer (played by relative newcomer, Jackson A. Dunn) is our evil anti-hero in this movie. And when I say evil, I don’t mean he’s a vigilante or a rugged anti-hero, I mean he is a genuine vicious, cold-blooded, murderer.

This movie is intent on flipping all the superhero tropes, including the idea that the good guys will always win because, in this film, they don’t! I expected that Brandon would be “saved” by his mother at the end of the movie since she was the only one willing to defend him even in the face of all his carnage.

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I anticipated her rescuing him or her being the one to kill him. Brightburn sets this up to happen by having Tori (Banks) take a piece of his space ship (the only thing that has ever made him bleed) and prepare to stab him with it. But Brandon catches her wrist before she can make the plunge and proceeds to speed into outer space with his mother’s body. He drops her from thousands of feet in the air.

Closing the film is a shot of Brandon sitting in the back of an ambulance, everyone who has ever suspected him, now dead, including his own family.

Brightburn’s ending montage is what makes the film interesting. First, we see news broadcasts of Brandon Beyer terrorizing the world. Instead of all the bulletins of Superman saving the day, the visuals show Beyer’s in his creepy costume, killing people, causing mass destruction, and no one is around to stop him. He leaves his double B symbol all over the world.

In a surprising cameo, Michael Rooker shows up as a conspiracy theorist, “Big T.” He claims the media is hiding the truth from the masses. Brandon Beyer is only the beginning. In another part of the world is a half-man, half-fish creature who is terrorizing the seas, and elsewhere is a witch woman who uses ropes and wailing to torment civilians. Hmm, sounds familiar.

Brightburn (Jackson A. Dunn) stars in Screen Gems’ BRIGHTBURN.

Brightburn ends with a significant sequel tease, one that predicates the possibility of a dark-Aquaman and dark-Wonder Woman in existence!

There is an on-screen diagram showing these three as Rooker’s character talks about them, but there are six photos in all, another is a photo of the Crimson Bolt (Frank Darbo) from James Gunn’s other film, Super! It’s worth mentioning the diner chain in Brightburn is also a direct reference to Super.

But what does all this mean? Will Brandon have to face-off against this evil Aquaman or Wonder Woman? Will he unite with them and form a twisted, serial killer squad? Will Crimson Bolt save the day?

Unfortunately, Brightburn didn’t quite live up to the hype surrounding it, but the ending could allow the movie to move in a far more exciting direction if it were to spawn a  whole new superhero horror franchise.

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Even though I was a little disappointed with the final product, I do think Brightburn is worth seeing, if only because it goes there in the last act and follows through on its promise to be a true horror film and offers no semblance of redemption for Brandon’s character.

Brightburn is currently playing in theaters.

Have you seen Brightburn? What did you think? Let us know in the comments.