James Gunn-Produced Superhero Horror Film Brightburn Shares First Trailer

In the classic origin story of Superman, a couple's prayers are answered when baby Kal-El crashes on their lonely farm in his spaceship and they raise him as their own. That baby becomes arguably the most powerful and idealistic superhero of all time. The upcoming James Gunn-produced Brightburn places a disturbing spin on this premise. Check out the first spine-chilling trailer:

Anyone else suddenly jumpy? The trailer for Brightburn from Sony Pictures starts off reminiscent of 2013's Man of Steel. A farm town setting is introduced and the film's lead Elizabeth Banks talks to her young son about how special he is, despite feeling different from other kids. Banks' character recounts the time when she and her husband (played by The Office's David Denman) find a child in a crashed spaceship. However, the trailer soon starts to take a horrifying tone, making it clear that this is no Superman reboot.

The boy, played by newcomer Jackson A. Dunn, is drawn to something in the family's barn, and crushes a fork in his mouth while eating. Quick cuts of sequences where Dunn's character uses his abilities, and even wears a mask and cape, intensify the trailer. It all leads to a moment where he seems to use heat vision to cut through a steel door and violently grab a woman.

Brightburn was originally supposed to be released back in November, but following the news of James Gunn's firing from Marvel Studios in July, when press was set to begin, the film was delayed to May. The horror film is written by James Gunn's brother Brian Gunn and his cousin Mark Gunn and is directed by The Hive's David Yarovesky.

James Gunn's first feature-length film was 2006's Slither, which was also a horror film starring Elizabeth Banks. So the film seems to take roots in his beginnings while also drawing from the world of superheroes he has explored with the Guardians of the Galaxy movies. Gunn was fired from writing and directing the third film in the series after his old tweets surfaced about pedophilia and rape.

The decision to delay Brightburn must have been a result of the controversy. But now that it has blown over, for the most part, and DC fans are excited for James Gunn's next project on the Suicide Squad sequel, this film can get its second wind. Gunn's name is used as an additional selling point in the trailer, as he is named as producer and his work on Guardians of the Galaxy is noted.

Brightburn's new summer release date of May 24, 2019 puts the film smack dab in blockbuster season -- with Disney's Aladdin remake posing as direct competition and Godzilla: King of Monsters premiering one week later. The heart-pulsing trailer is just enough to get audiences excited at the idea of the Superman origin story as a terrifying evil villain.

Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

Sarah El-Mahmoud has been with CinemaBlend since 2018 after graduating from Cal State Fullerton with a degree in Journalism. In college, she was the Managing Editor of the award-winning college paper, The Daily Titan, where she specialized in writing/editing long-form features, profiles and arts & entertainment coverage, including her first run-in with movie reporting, with a phone interview with Guillermo del Toro for Best Picture winner, The Shape of Water. Now she's into covering YA television and movies, and plenty of horror. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.