Directed by: David Yarovesky
Written by: Brian Gunn & Mark Gunn
Produced by: James Gunn, Kenneth Huang
Executive Producers Brian Gunn, Mark Gunn, Simon Hatt, Dan Clifton, Nic Crawley, Kent Huang
Cast: Elizabeth Banks, David Denman, Jackson A. Dunn, Matt Jones and Meredith Hagner
Length: 91 minutes
What if a child from another world crash-landed on Earth, but instead of becoming a hero to mankind, he proved to be something far more sinister?
Tori and Kyle Breyer (Elizabeth Banks and David Denman) live on a farm and are struggling with infertility. On the night they're trying to conceive, a rocketship - with a child - crashlands in their yard.
Ten years later, the child, Brandon Breyer (Jackson Dunn) is about to celebrate his 12th birthday. Breyer is too smart for his class and he has a habit for drawing a sigil with a line down the center and two sets of triangles pointing in opposite directions.
However, as most 12 year-old boys do, he begins to change. While has never fit in with the lower-middle-class farming community of Brightburn, Kansas, he goes from being a mild-mannered pre-teen to something quite sinister.
Tori explains to Brandon that he is more than human. Instead of embracing his new found abilities to help mankind, he becomes something more monstrous and then begins picking off members of the community.
"Brightburn" is a reaction to the Zack Snyder Superman movies/"Smallville" television series the same way "Galaxy Quest" was a reaction to the original "Star Trek" movies and television series. In their own unique ways, they're almost "thank you" letters.
Brandon regularly wears red and blue (as did Tom Welling's Clark Kent did in "Smallville") and in the more emotional moments between Brandon and Tori, the musical cues were similar to the musical score between Henry Cavill and Diane Lane in "Man of Steel."
Banks and Dunn have a real chemistry. Banks seamlessly went from supportive mother to horrified parent realizing something must be done. Like Banks, Denman effortlessly went from doting father to taking matters into his own hands. As for Dunn, he had an "Edward Norton Presumed Innocent" way of going from sympathetic to being able to scare with a simple stare.
Director David Yarovesky added subtle touches to the world Brandon Breyer that can easily be missed, which is one of the many reasons this movie should be viewed more than once.
Yarovesky chose Brandon's "evil form" with a homemade mask and criss-cross shoelace-like design around the mouth with the laces hanging past the chin giving an unsettling feel. It was reminiscent of the Ood from "Doctor Who" (back when it was still good). However, another writer said he was reminded of the squid-faced-demigod, Cthullu. If that be intentional, than Yarovesky and the Gunns have added a Lovecraftian layer to something apocalyptic.
While the movie is rife with obvious comparisons to comic book movies, it can be compared to the "Omen" movies of the 1970s/1980s. We are introduced to Damien and watch as he takes over the world as the Anti-Christ.
It is hoped they continue with Brandon's growth into an alien overlord.
"Brightburn" also has touches of the "It's a Good Life" segment from the 1983 "Twilight Zone: The Move," which featured a pre-Bart Simpson Nancy Cartright thrown into a television world by a super powerful boy.
Finally, Michael Rooker was hilarious as a Alex Jones-like YouTube host screaming that besides Brandon there are stories of other super powerful beings in the world ready to make themselves known. The implication is a future story with a corrupted version of the Justice League.
ABOUT DON EVERETT SMITH JR.
Don is a comic book writer, author and a recent convert to horror writing. His latest book "Blood from a Tombstone" is available on Amazon.com as an e-book from Tombstone Stories Publishing.
He publishes his comic books, which feature the Vampire of the Lost Highway and the Candle Man, under his comic book imprint Pinion Comics. He has contributed stories to such books as “The New Adventures of the Masked Writer” from Pro Se Books and “Beyond Watson: A Sherlock Holmes Anthology of Stories Not Told by Dr. John H. Watson” for Belanger Books.
Don has written comic book histories about the various branches of the United States Military, as well comic book biographies on radio host Rush Limbaugh, President Ronald Reagan and Jesus Christ.
When not writing fiction and comic books, Don writes articles about Lycoming County, Pennsylvania and its history as well as authoring the historical true-crime “The Goffle Road Murders of Passaic County”.
He lives in Central Pennsylvania, with his wife Laura, an artist, and their three cats and tortoise.
The Tenants is showing as part of the Hola Mexico Film Festival at Montalbán Theatre, Regal Cinemas LA Live and LA Plaza De Cultura Y Artes. in Los Angeles on 01 June 2019. And we are honoured to welcome back author V. Castro, who has been taking a look at and interviewing the directors of two fo the horror films showing at the festival. V has already reviewed Feral and interviewed its director, and today she takes a look at The Tenants, a film from director Chava Cartas
If you are in LA this weekend you can purchase tickets to the film by by clicking here
When I was a small child my mother said I had Ojo, the evil eye. They say if you admire a child and don’t touch that child, they will become ill. Apparently, I had the Ojo, and a ritual involving an egg was performed. I also remember having a small vial of oil in my room with my name across the bottle. I was told never to open it. I was too scared to do so. Watching The Tenants (Inquilinos) reminded me of that spiritual underbelly that is very real in my culture.
A young couple appear to be very much in love but are starting over after a personal tragedy. They start a new life by moving into a new apartment. There are a few remnants of the previous tenants, like a wardrobe in the bedroom that refuses to open. As the couple begin the process of settling in, strange occurrences begin to happen. Things go missing, an older tenant warns both Luzma and Damián of danger, Luzma experiences frightening sleep paralysis. As Luzma becomes more frightened and seemingly delirious, Damián takes her to see a Curandero because she is a believer and he is not. However, the danger might not be around them, but a little closer to home.
From the start of the film you are taken to a place that can just be described as dark. You know straight away that this film has all the hallmarks of witchcraft, but it is that kind of witchcraft that is very much alive in places around the world, which means none of this could be beyond the realm of possibility. That thought alone makes my imagination go wild and scares me. Isn’t that the point of good horror?!
The entire cast give solid performances to build the sense of an evil shadow controlling the lives in this apartment complex. You are not sure until close to the end who or what might be the root of the terror. That is always difficult to accomplish in a horror film because there are so many movies using the same tropes. Danny Perea (Luzma) has the most screen time and does a great job propelling the story forward and into a downward spiral of fear.
What I enjoyed most about this film is that it takes a different approach to the witchcraft trope in storytelling and setting. Mexico! If you are a fan of Rosemary’s Baby, The Entity, Angel Heart, or The Serpent and The Rainbow, then check out this film.
V.Castro is the author of Maria The Wanted and the Legacy of The Keepers - her debut vampire novel series and The Erotic Modern Life of Malinalli the Vampire- an erotic novella series. You can also find her horror film reviews on
She is a Mexican American ex-pat living in the UK for the past 12 years. As a full-time mother, she dedicates her time to her family and writing.
Violet can be found on Instagram, Twitter and at her website www.vvcastro.com
Maria is a wanted woman. She's wanted by and Aztec trafficker, a cartel boss, the people she fights for, and now the Devil she can't resist.Her journey begins as a would-be immigrant turned vampire in Juarez, Mexico until the injustices of the world turn her into somehting else. She's not just out for blood, she wants answers.Maria spends twenty-two years in motel cleaning purgatory trying to keep her faith and sanity intact. When she feels all hope is lost she meets an ex-boxer that offers her a new job and teaches her to fight. During this time, she becomes an unlikely bad ass enforcer of justice for the community that has embraced her. Is she a saint or an old God from a forgotten past?
Not only does she evolve into the woman she always hoped to be, but she finds her creator – Adam- he is nothing like she imagined. He invites Maria to travel with him to England to join The Keepers, a vampire organization led by the ancient Mordecai and Dr. Elizabeth Appleton.
Learning that the true vampire way isn’t destruction but the safety of humanity, Maria joins The Keepers as they uncover a plot set into motion by Lucifer himself. The Keepers must end his corruption through political manipulation or watch as the world hurtles towards self-destruction.
Dir. Andrés Kaiser, Mexico, 101 mins
“Sometimes we have to forgive God’s sins”
Juan Felipe is a troubled man that experienced a troubled family life. He leaves his mother behind for a monastery where he undergoes psychoanalytic treatment. The Vatican does not approve of the treatment the monks are undergoing and the monastery severs ties with the church. Eventually Juan moves to the edge of a forest in Oaxaca where he and his closest friend find a feral child. With his background in psychology, Juan decides to take this child into his home for rehabilitation. It is an arduous journey that only becomes more intense as he and his friend make another discovery that will push Juan Felipe to the edge of his moral compass.
Religion is a curious thing. Most of the time it asks of us things that are contrary to our nature. It unites people as much as it tears them apart. Throughout the film, the church feels like a secretive monolith dominating the town and the people’s lives, and not for the better. Contrast that with the sweeping landscape of the Mexican countryside, the misty wet forest. This makes you question which is more inviting. I wanted to get lost in that forest.
Feral moves from found footage that is disrupted by static and at times grainy, which gives us a single view into what is happening in this home with an ex-priest and the children he is trying to bring into civilization and God’s grace. In fact, he names these children for the saints that were converted and martyred for not believing in the old ways. I couldn’t help but to feel that this story was almost an allegory about colonization, bringing the savages out of the cave (almost reminiscent of Plato’s The Cave?) by one that knows better. However, as history has shown, the benevolent men of God can’t always see their ways as abusive and wrong.
I have to give this film credit for filming in Oaxaca and including an indigenous woman speaking her native language. This is a wonderful to see. The entire cast give authentic performances. If I didn’t know this is a film and not a documentary, I might not have known.
This is dark, subtle psychological horror that keeps unspooling the longer you watch. The story unravels at the same rate as Juan Felipe’s ability to control a situation that is clearly beyond his capability. It begs to ask what do we do for ourselves versus for others. Can we ever be truly altruistic? Feral is the kind of film that makes a bed in your mind and doesn’t want to leave. It was creepy as it was atmospheric as I didn’t know what was going to happen next.
This is one to watch.
Feral is showing as part of the Hola Mexico Film Festival at Montalbán Theatre, Regal Cinemas LA Live and LA Plaza De Cultura Y Artes. in Los Angeles on 01 June 2019, if you are in the are you can purchase tickets by clicking here