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Film / Brightburn

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"You're the only ones who know just how special I really am."
Brandon Breyer/Brightburn

Brightburn is a 2019 Superhero Horror film produced by James Gunn, written by his brother and cousin Brian and Mark Gunn, and directed by not-a-Gunn-but-frequent-collaborator David Yarovesky. The film reunites James Gunn and Elizabeth Banks, who previously worked together on Slither.

A happy couple who dreams of starting a family has their wish come true one night when a rocket ship crash-lands near their farm, and a baby boy is found on board. The couple takes him in as their own and raise him lovingly. They soon find out that he has extraordinary superpowers. Sound familiar?

Well, that's about where the similarities end. Because, unfortunately for everyone around him, this boy — named Brandon — doesn't plan on using his powers for noble causes...

Previews: Trailer 1, Trailer 2, Trailer 3.

Not to be confused with the 2010 film Burning Bright.

This film provides examples of:

  • All Love Is Unrequited: Brandon has a crush on a classmate of his named Caitlyn, but his randomly showing up in her bedroom really put her off him.
  • All of the Other Reindeer: According to Mrs. Breyer, Brandon has trouble fitting in with other kids. Being a Creepy Child probably doesn’t help, though he's shown to be nice enough before his powers manifest. The problem is that he's already much more intelligent than the other children.
  • Alliterative Name:
    • Brandon Breyer. His Sigil Spam makes use of the double-B. His mother also frequently refers to him as her "baby boy".
    • It's easy to miss unless one is explicitly looking for it, but Brandon's crush's name is Caitlyn Connor.
  • Animal Motifs: Hymenoptera, in particular bees and specially wasps. Brandon has an almost encyclopedic knowledge of them, and his behavior throughout the movie does very much resemble his own description of hostile wasps as brood parasites.
  • Antagonist Title: Played With. Brightburn is the name of the town, not Brandon's own identity, but it is given to him as a Red Baron in the scene during the credits.
  • Appropriated Appellation: "Brightburn" is the name of the town, not Brandon's super name, especially because he never takes up any names during the film, but the final scenes showcase the world's reaction to the film's events and one of them is a vlogger using "Brightburn" as a name for Brandon, with the implication that this will eventually be what Brandon does call himself. It would only be appropriate, after all.
  • Art Reflects Personality: As Brandon begins to deteriorate into an Ax-Crazy Creepy Child, he starts drawing sinister pictures of himself as a demonic being and other disturbing images.
  • Asshole Victim: Averted. All of Brandon's victims are normal, decent people who in no way deserved their fate. It doesn't help that the trailer vastly overplayed how much he was bullied by his peers, and the people hostile to him had good reason to be. In fact, the one unrepentant bully shown (a chunky black kid) is never targeted by Brandon in the film. Even Brandon's father, who appears to be distant to him, has very good reason and completely justifiable reason as to why he's suspicious and wary of him.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: All attempts to stop Brandon fail. He is free to terrorize and destroy various major places in the world to instill fear in humans.
  • Batter Up!: Caitlyn's mother, when she realizes she's in trouble, picks up a baseball bat to defend herself. Of course, that danger is Brandon.
  • Beta Outfit: Brandon's home-made superhero outfit is implied to be his beta outfit. Presumably, as he ages and becomes a full-fledged supervillain, he'll make a better version. In undergoes Costume Evolution as the story progresses, partly because what might be to hand to accessorize with the main piece (the cape and mask), partly as other parts of the outfit get damaged or ruined (most often by the blood of his victims).
  • Beware the Superman: The alien boy that the couple adopts appears to have some very serious homicidal tendencies. And then it's revealed Brandon is not the only superpowered being out there... and they're all as bad as him.
  • Big Bad Slippage: Brandon starts out relatively fine, but considering the premise of the movie, he obviously doesn't stay that way for long, especially after discovering his powers.
  • Black Speech: The language spoken by Brandon's spaceship is very ominous and eldritch in tone.
  • Bullying a Dragon: Caitlyn learns what happens when you insult an unstable kid with superpowers when Brandon breaks her hand after she calls him a creep for stalking her.
  • Calling Card: Brandon begins marking his murder sites with his back-to-back B insignia as he escalates.
  • Canon Welding: According to director David Yarovesky, one of the superpowered beings seen in the Big T's vlog at the end is supposed to be the Crimson Bolt from Super, which producer James Gunn wrote and directed.
  • Catapult Nightmare: Kyle's dream of the night Brandon landed on Earth, which ends with Baby Brandon leaping towards the camera.
  • Celebrity Paradox: A non-actor example. This film apparently shares a universe with Super, but DC and Marvel comics clearly existed in that film's universe, so why do none of the characters here compare Brandon and the other villains to their Justice League counterparts?
  • Close on Title: The film's title appears at the very end.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Noah drops a panicked one when Brandon starts hoisting his car in the air with him inside, and he's completely right to freak out.
  • Come Out, Come Out, Wherever You Are: Brandon as a teen is introduced playing hide-and-seek with his mother. In the climax, his mother does the hiding while Brandon floats through the ruined house looking for her, even whistling like they used to do when playing the game.
  • Condensation Clue: Brandon draws his insignia in the frost on the windows of the diner where Erika works. The frost has evaporated the next day, but the sheriff notices the faded remains of one insignia whereupon it becomes a literal clue.
  • The Corrupter: Brandon's innate alien nature ends up being this due to his ship. The ship itself may be one, speaking to him in his native language, which he comes to understand as saying "Take the World."
  • Corrupted Character Copy: The film is Superman's origin story Played for Horror, Brandon is one of these for Superman. The Stinger shows he's not the only one...
  • Costume Evolution: Subtle, but present. The most visible part of his outfit, the cape and mask, doesn't change much over the course of the film, but what he wears with it does. Partly this is based on the availability of what he has to wear with it, partly because his clothes aren't as indestructible as he is, and partly because various parts of the ensemble frequently get ruined (typically by the blood of his victims).
  • Creepy Child: Brandon becomes this after realizing that he has superpowers.
  • Deconstruction:
    • Of the Superman Substitute. If a young alien child discovers he has godlike abilities and is told constantly he is meant to do great things, yet gets the wrong idea of what "great" means... It's not gonna end well.
    • Also of the argument of Superman's fairly happy upbringing making him into the kind person he is. Mrs. Breyer is just as loving and supportive as Martha Kent or even a traditional Jonathan Kent. However, despite the upbringing Brandon gets, nothing can remove the underlying nature of his. This is also Nature vs. Nurture in play.
    • Of Clark Kent's status as an outsider amongst his school peers. Brandon is an outsider, but unlike Clark, he takes this fact very, very personally.
  • Description Cut: Brandon flying at Erica at superspeed smash cuts to porridge being slopped on his plate, implying he smashed her to Ludicrous Gibs. Though Erica being found intact albeit eviscerated may imply otherwise.
  • Disproportionate Retribution:
    • When Caitlyn drops him during a trust exercise and calls him a freak for stalking her, Brandon crushes her hand.
    • Caitlyn's mother wants Brandon arrested and jailed for breaking her daughter's hand. Brandon's response is to terrify the poor woman at work, then brutally murder her. A twofer, as while crushing someone's hand is serious, it doesn't necessarily require a twelve-year-old being perp-marched out of the school in handcuffs.
  • Downer Ending: Brandon destroys everything: parts of the town, his parents, and the only thing that can hurt him. An unstoppable sociopathic Superman is now free to terrorize the world... and to make things worse, there seem to be evil and murderous versions of other Justice League members out there.
  • Even Evil Can Be Loved: Mr. and Mrs. Breyer did their best to raise their son right before Brandon loses himself, which makes it all the more tear-jerking to hear Mrs. Breyer.
    Mrs. Breyer: (sounding incredibly sad) Whatever you've done, I know there is good inside you!
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: In spite of being committed to "showing the world how superior he is" and fantasizing about destroying the planet, Brandon actively avoids letting his parents realize his true nature and keeps up a benign facade around them. Only when they turn against him does he become hostile to them as well.
  • Expy:
    • Brandon Breyer and his family are obvious ones to Superman and the Kents, except this time Superman's ship brainwashes him to become evil. Brandon Breyer himself also merges elements of a wide variety of other horror characters and villains, including Carrie White (albeit mostly in the trailers), Jason Voorhees, and Michael Myers, among others.
    • Caitlyn Connor for Lana Lang.
    • Come the closing credits, we also see on television an aggressive, bald public figure who wants Brandon destroyed (Lex Luthor). Shortly afterwards, he reveals that there are other monsters out there, such as a strange aquatic humanoid which destroys boats and murders sailors (Aquaman), and a frightening woman who likes to strangle people with ropes and cords (Wonder Woman). There's also what looks like an expy of Martian Manhunter in one image. note  In all, it seems to be an adaptation of DC Comics' Earth-3.
    • Brandon bears the most similarity to The Plutonian from Irredeemable. The Plutonian was his universe's Superman, and like Brandon, was deeply narcissistic, Can't Take Criticism and would lash out at anyone for any slight (to the point of destroying all of Singapore as retaliation for an ambassador lying to him). However, Brandon appears to have been made sociopathic as the result of his ship's influence, whereas the Plutonian was originally a genuine hero (albeit a rather selfish one) who decided to be evil over his inability to make everyone love him and take any form of criticism against him.
    • Brandon Breyer also has a lot of similarities to Goku, who also shares a lot of similarities with Superman. Much like Goku, Brandon is sent by a race of Human Alien as a child with the intention of eventually conquering his adopted world. Unlike Goku, Brandon never forgets his true nature and ends up fulfilling his purpose.
  • Eye Beams: Brandon has heat/laser vision. He gets to use it against his father at close range, destroying his brain.
  • Eye Scream: Erica Connor is standing under a light when Brandon somehow manages to break it, getting a shard of it in her eye. We then get a fun scene of her pulling it out!
  • Facial Horror:
    • Brandon's uncle Noah gets his lower jaw torn off from slamming the steering wheel on his truck. He is alive for a few seconds, trying to reattach it despite sheer blood loss and shock, then ultimately dies, his lower jaw falling out of place.
    • Brandon burns a hole through Kyle's head with his heat vision.
  • The Farmer and the Viper: The Breyers bring Brandon into their home and love him like a son. Then it turns out that Brandon is basically a psychopathic Superboy, and things go downhill from there.
  • Fiery Cover-Up: A possible version when the after-credits scene shows that Brightburn is responsible for a forest fire, which may be to destroy his father's body in case it's found.
  • First Contact Farmer: A nice couple with a farm in the American Midwest desperately want a baby. One night, an alien spaceship crashes on their farm; they find a seemingly human baby in the wreckage, and raise him as their own, giving him a loving home. (Too bad about the rest of the plot of the movie.)
  • Flash Step: A police officer sees something in the window of the Breyer's house. The camera pans over to the window, showing the viewer that Brandon is hovering just outside. By the time the camera pans back to the police officer, Brandon is right behind her.
  • Flying Brick: Played for Horror. Brandon has the standard set of Superman-esque powers: he can fly, he has super strength, he's Nigh-Invulnerable, and he can shoot laser beams from his eyes. Much of the movie's horror comes from just how terrifying powers like these would be in the real world if they fell into the wrong hands. Fortunately, he does not have Super-Hearing. At least, not yet.
  • Foreshadowing: Brandon displays a near-encyclopedic knowledge of the difference between benign bees and hostile wasps, noting that wasps have a tendency for extreme aggression and brood parasitism. In the end, it's heavily implied that Brandon is himself a brood parasite with the predisposition to destroy his adopted home.
  • For Want Of A Nail: There’s one difference between Brandon and Clark: the ship. Unlike Clark, the ship does more to Brandon besides send him to Earth: it also corrupts him. Unlike Clark, who can take most of the moral values given to him by the Kents to heart, the Breyers' moral values towards Brandon was misinterpreted due to the ship's influence.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: During The Stinger, The Crimson Bolt from James Gunn's Super can be briefly seen among the other images of super-beings who are starting to make their presence known on Earth.
  • A God Am I: Brandon appears to develop a god complex, if the illustrations in his notebook are to be believed. His true nature does think he's superior to humans.
  • Good Parents: Kyle and Tori are absolutely loving and responsible parents towards Brandon, teaching him all they can and not shying from even embarrassing topics.
  • Gorn: The film does not shy away from showing some spectacularly gruesome violence in great detail.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: The Kryptonian expys of this movie. Apparently, they sent Brandon to Earth in order to conquer it with a voice from his ship telling him in an alien language "take the world". They are also Scary Dogmatic Aliens ruled by a Galactic Conqueror.
  • Headphones Equal Isolation: Brandon is shown sitting alone by himself in the schoolyard wearing headphones, drawing in his coloring book. He's taken by surprise when his mother walks up on him, quickly hiding it from her.
  • Hero Antagonist: Brandon's on-screen victims are all this. Michael Rooker's character in The Stinger as well.
  • Hope Spot: Brandon's mother has a realization when she cuts her hand and remembers Brandon doing the same on the alien spacecraft. She breaks off a shard and tries to kill her son with a hug... only for Brandon to catch her knife hand as it descends. He then takes her above the cloud layer and drops her.
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Although Tori isn't exactly tiny (Elizabeth Banks' size of 5'5" or 1.65m is average for a woman), her husband Kyle is One Head Taller and twice as broad as her, giving them this dynamic when they're standing next to each other.
  • Hunting "Accident": Kyle attempted to eliminate Brandon this way. Not only did it fail, but also backfired on Kyle in the worst way possible.
  • I Can See You: Tori discovers Brandon's coloring book covered with his symbol, and rings her husband in a panic to warn him. Brandon answers, having already killed Kyle. When his mother asks Brandon where he is, Brandon replies that he's home. We then see him hovering above the Breyer house.
  • I Have No Son!: Mrs. Breyer is nothing but supportive of Brandon. Mr. Breyer, in a complete inversion of Jonathan Kent, on the other hand, pretty much disowns Brandon. It's actually justified since Brandon comes from a meteor out of nowhere and is shown to be powerful and unstable. Too bad that also put him on Brandon's murder list...
  • Implied Death Threat: Brandon points out to his aunt (the school counselor) that it would be best if she didn't give a report to the sheriff tomorrow. While Merilee acknowledges his behavior as inappropriate, she has no idea of Brandon's powers so doesn't recognise the threat he's making. He ends up killing her husband, which achieves the same result, as Merilee then has other things to worry about than submitting reports.
  • In the Hood: Brandon finds a red piece of cloth and makes it into a creepy-looking tattered cape and hood, which entirely covers his face and makes him look sinister.
  • Inscrutable Aliens: The aliens that Brandon belongs to, in stark contrast to Jor-El and his fellow Kryptonians.
  • It Won't Turn Off: Caitlyn wakes up to find her laptop playing a love song. She closes the lid and goes back to bed, only to hear it start up again the moment she turns her back, Brandon having used his Super-Speed to open the laptop again. Caitlyn is understandably freaked out about this.
  • Kids Are Cruel: Brandon himself starts to take this trope up to eleven when he falls to his instincts.
  • Kryptonite Factor: The material the ship is made out of is the only substance that can injure Brandon, in a clear analogue to kryptonite.
  • Law of Inverse Fertility: The Bryers are good people, and struggling to have a child. At least they managed to find a baby to raise as their own (even if he himself came out wrong at a certain point...).
  • Love Makes You Dumb: Tori refuses to even only consider the possibility that Brandon has killed his uncle Noah. Even if that happens after she has witnessed already to Caitlyn Connor's crippling injury that Brandon has done to her, to the disappearance of Erica Connor, to the blatant lie Brandon has said to them regarding his -untold- visit to his aunt and uncle's house, and to the violent reaction Brandon had toward Kyle. The icing on the cake? Tori has it all backwards. She actually accuses Kyle for Noah's death, saying that the accident happened because Noah was drunk, that it was Kyle's duty to keep him sober, and that so, Kyle, feeling guilty, is now trying to put the blame on the poor innocent twelve year boy with superpowers.
  • Ludicrous Gibs: Chief Deputy Deever is hit by Brandon going at super speed, and his body reacts as a normal human body would: by becoming little more than a smear of red mulch on the Breyer porch.
  • Make It Look Like an Accident:
    • Brandon kills Noah by using his powers to levitate Noah's car and then drop it. Noah had been drinking beforehand, and the general assumption is that he swerved to avoid a deer, causing the car to flip over.
    • Brandon crashes a plane full of people into his adoptive parents' house, leaving no evidence of the murders committed there and also destroying the spaceship.
  • The Man Behind the Man: It's implied that Brandon was sent to Earth to conquer it when he grew up, most likely for his species, who perceive themselves as superior.
  • Momma's Boy: Brandon is clearly closer to his mother than his father, and his mother is more unconditionally supportive of him than his father.
  • Mood Whiplash: Early on in the film, The Breyers and the McNichols are at a restaurant celebrating Brandon's birthday, with Brandon being given a huge ice cream sundae as a special treat, and everyone is merry and happy – and then Noah reveals that he got him a gun as a present, and it all goes due south very quickly from there: Kyle vehemently refuses to let Brandon have the gun, and Brandon furiously demands that he give it to him (which causes all the lights in the building to flicker), resulting in Kyle angrily declaring the party over, taking Brandon's sundae away before he even gets a chance to eat it, and taking him straight home.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: Certain trailers make it seem like Brandon is being bullied at school, showing his classmates pushing him around during gym class while their teacher looks on apathetically. In the actual film it’s a trust fall exercise, and the girl who calls Brandon a creep (pervert in the film) has perfectly valid reasons for doing so.
  • Nigh-Invulnerable: The only thing that can damage Brandon is debris from his ship. Once that's out of the way, Brandon is presumably indestructible.
  • Nightmare Fuel Coloring Book: Mrs. Breyer finds Brandon's notebook... which is full of his Sigil Spam and nightmarish depictions of his various atrocities that he's committed or is planning to commit.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: After Brandon turns the sheriff into a red smear on the Breyer's front porch, this is what he does to the female deputy barely a minute later. The act itself is only shown out of focus in the background, but it's horrifying enough even before the gruesome result is revealed.
  • "No. Just… No" Reaction: A rare non-comedic variant in Noah's reaction to Brandon flying.
  • Nothing Is Scarier:
    • Some of the kills are off-screen. Zigzagged with other off-screen kills, but shows the aftermath.
    • The movie doesn't explain who or what exactly Brandon is, where he came from, or why he was sent here, further underlining that Brandon is an alien. While Clark gets an explanation for who his people were and why his parents sent him to Earth, Brandon gets only one cryptic message: "Take the World."
  • Offing the Offspring: Both Breyers resort to this after seeing the monster Brandon has become. They only succeed in getting killed and possibly destroying any chance Brandon might've had at redeeming himself.
  • Police Are Useless: The cops pin Noah's death on a car accident caused by him trying to evade a deer on the road while driving under the influence. Considering what actually happened (Brandon shorted out the engine so the car came to a complete stop, then he hoisted it up by the rear bumper and simply dropped it), one has to wonder how the local forensic investigators made it through their training. They also missed the glass from the shattered side window a couple hundred meters up the road. The sheriff does eventually cotton on to Brandon, but by then it's far too late, Granted, there's nothing he could've done anyway.
  • Porn Stash: Brandon's parents are amused to find that he has torn out pages of risque magazine ads and hid them under his mattress... until they also find bizarre anatomical drawings and photographs of gore along with them. Erica Connor is later found eviscerated in imitation of one of the pictures.
  • Power Floats: Among other superpowers, Brandon can fly. When expressing his full power, he has a tendency to float a few inches or feet off the ground just to show off.
  • Protagonist Journey to Villain: The entire film acts as this for Brandon, played out as a kind of Mirror Universe Superhero Origin. As the closing credits show, this parallel appears to have been the entire point — and he is far from the only example.
  • Puny Earthlings: Whatever alien species Brandon is, they're clearly way, way beyond humans, at least in physiology. And, as it happens, Brandon is fully aware of this.
  • The Quiet One: Brandon. He would rather prefer lurking and watching from the background than talking. He usually speaks when spoken to (and his voice rarely gets past a low tone unless he's angry), and rarely starts conversations by himself. This is a good thing for him, bad thing for people he murders, he's just that quiet to sneak up on others.
  • The Reveal:
    • In the film proper, Brandon has been progressively brainwashed by his ship to become as evil as he is, leaving him in a permanent insane state.
    • In The Stinger, Brandon is not the only known superhuman, and the others mentioned, expys of Aquaman and Wonder Woman, are as homicidal as he is, with no known way to stop them.
  • Room Full of Crazy: Played for horror when his mother finds Erica Connor displayed and gutted in the barn basement, and Brandon's sigil daubed in blood all over the walls.
  • Rule of Symbolism: When Brandon appears in Caitlyn's room after he breaks her wrist, she is attempting to write an essay on "The Decline of Truth and Justice in the Modern Era", a reference to one of Superman's regular sayings and reflecting how Brandon differs from the Man of Steel.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: Attempted by Noah when he sees Brandon standing in the path of his car displaying his superpowers. Noah says, "Nope!" and starts trying to flee.
  • Self-Made Orphan: Both Kyle and Tori Breyer end up dead by their adopted son's hands (or eye lasers, as the case may be).
  • Shooting Superman: Kyle tries to kill Brandon with a gun despite the fact that his boy can chew up a fork. It ends about as well as you'd expect.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The film's title is a reference to another Superman-related property taking place around his growing up and the related troubles.
    • The first half of the trailer is a stylistic recreation of the trailers for Man of Steel before the film's true nature as a horror movie is revealed. For instance, there is an identical shot of a swing, taken from that movie. It wouldn't be the first Gunn-related movie to draw influence from that version of Superman.
    • The back-to-back B symbol Brandon draws resembles the Brand of Sacrifice from Berserk. It also evokes a symbol used in the comic book Nameless (2015).
    • The town and county of Brightburn are located in Kansas, which is the home state of Superman.
    • Brandon’s involvement with a plane crash, is a twisted inversion of Clark saving an airplane in Superman Returns.
    • Brandon kills his father the exact same way Superman kills Shazam in the game Injustice: Gods Among Us. It's even shown in the exact same point of view.
    • The bald public figure is obviously a take on Lex Luthor, only this time viewed as an actual hero to humanity who is actually in the right.
    • Brandon's name may possibly be a subtle nod to Brandon Routh who played Superman in Superman Returns
  • Sigil Spam: Brandon did this to his notebook. And the usage grows on his murders later. There are echoes of the sigil hidden everywhere throughout the film, including: the diamond hatch pattern of Brandon's blanket/cape, the weave of the laces on his mask, the cellar doors leading to the ship, and several diamond-shaped pieces of furniture and art sprinkled throughout.
  • The Sociopath: Once Brandon starts getting controlled by his ship, he loses all traces of empathy, even the ability to fake it. When told that his uncle has died (as the result of his own actions), Brandon can only note that his parents seem to expect him to cry.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Caitlyn seems to like Brandon. He interprets that as giving him the right to go to her room at night and scare her in his attempted romantic gestures.
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: Brandon does this constantly once he gets his powers, using his Super-Speed to appear and then disappear.
  • Stealth Sequel: Zigzagged and downplayed, but still present. The Stinger reveals that Brightburn takes place in the same universe as James Gunn’s previous film Super, with The Crimson Bolt making an appearance in a photograph. No matter if this creates some Celebrity Paradox as superhero comics exist in that movie.
  • The Stinger: As Brandon goes on a rampage across the country, he is named Brightburn by the fearful populace. An aggressive, bald public figure declares his intention to stop him, and also brings up other horrific superhuman phenomena, such as a strange aquatic humanoid sinking ships and murdering sailors, and a frightening woman who likes to strangle people with her special rope.
  • Stylistic Suck: Brandon's costume looks exactly like the costume a pre-teen superhero would make in their room. Which just adds to the creepiness factor of it.
  • Superhero Prevalence Stages: The stinger reveals that this universe is undergoing a very early stage. Unfortunately, all of the known superhumans that have revealed themselves so far are mass murderers, with no known way to stop them.
  • Superman Substitute: Played for Horror. Brandon was an okay kid up until he discovers he's a superpowered alien and the typical "you came here for a reason" speech that was given to Clark at that age... well... saying that he learnt the wrong lesson from it is probably an understatement.
    Brandon: I learned something tonight, I'm very special. You're one of the few people that knows how special I am. But someday... They will all know.
  • Super-Speed: In the blink of the eye, Brandon can fly a dozen meters instantly toward his next victim. He uses this both to Flash Step towards a target or to just turn the target into chunky salsa.
  • Super Supremacist: Played for Horror. The Villain Protagonist Brandon Breyer is a sociopathic superhuman who quickly gains a massive God complex following the discovery of his true nature as an alien. As a result, anyone who manages to piss him off receives a Cruel and Unusual Death.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Brandon is shown to sometimes have glowing red eyes.
  • Take Over the World: The alien language spoken by the spaceship translates as "Take the world".
  • That Thing Is Not My Child!: Mr. Breyer doesn't consider Brandon his son after all the terrible things Brandon does. That was Mr. Breyer's downfall.
  • The Talk: While hunting, Kyle decides to speak to Brandon about puberty and sex. Sadly, Brandon misinterprets his saying that "It's OK being attracted to girls and acting on it" as permission to stalk his crush, taking advantage of his superspeed.
  • Then Let Me Be Evil: It's unclear how much Brandon's rampage is due to his own nature, the ship brainwashing him or feeling like an outcast. Similarly, it's not clear if he's being honest when he tells his mother that he wants to do good, but it certainly becomes a moot point after she tries to kill him, after which he just starts destroying and killing at random.
  • Tranquil Fury: Brandon, when he kills his parents as retaliation for attempting to kill him.
  • Troubled Child: Some of Brandon's motives, such as his unrequentited former attraction to Caitlyn Connor, and how he is at the age range to be in school, combining with the fact that his powers are basically his equivalent to a "loaded gun", makes him eerily similar to a school shooter.
  • Too Dumb to Live: It's not clear if Kyle knew that bullets weren't going to do a damn thing to Brandon, but he certainly should've suspected so when he noticed that his kid was far, far more resilient than any human.
  • Tyke Bomb: It's heavily implied that Brandon is a brood parasite who is pre-conditioned to destroy his adopted home when he comes of age.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom:
    • Not that Kyle could've been prepared for it since he had no way to expect that Brandon's superpowers would lead to him misinterpreting The Talk, but it's ultimately his talk about girls to Brandon what kick starts the chain of events that would lead to his first murder.
    • As Kyle himself points out, they should have gone to the authorities when they first found the spacecraft, rather than taking in Brandon and pretending he was adopted.
  • Used to Be a Sweet Kid: Played With. Brandon was a normal little boy with a loving relationship with his parents before he discovered his powers. Both the parents and Brandon knew of the loving environment and care, but Brandon unfortunately falls completely to his alien nature anyway.
  • Vicious Cycle: No one notices it, but this is part of the reason Brandon falls prey to his ship's corrupting influences. As his power awakens, and he starts using them for less-than-pleasant purposes because his ship is urging him to, people understandably start ostracizing him because of it. Unfortunately, this only makes him more susceptible to the ship's influence over him and causes him to become even worse.
  • Villainous Lineage: It's unclear how much of Brandon's villainy is a result of his inherent nature, how much is brainwashing from his ship, and how much is just a socially outcast twelve-year-old coming to grips with the fact that he's an alien with superpowers, but it's likely a combination of all three (he's shown to have some... unusual interests before his powers manifest and he finds the spaceship).
  • Walking Spoiler: It is impossible to mention the characters featured in The Stinger without revealing that Brandon is not the only superpowered being, let alone the only one with homicidal tendencies.
  • Walking Techbane: Brandon’s very presence when using his powers causes things like lights and electrical equipment to go haywire — sometimes explosively, as poor Mrs. Connor finds out...
  • Wham Line: In The Stinger, a bald public figure brings up some new information.
    "The mainstream media, as usual, tries to sell you all on a load of bullshit! Just like that half-man, half-sea creature capsizing fishers in the South China sea! Like what we've come by last week, some kind of witch woman chokes people out with ropes and cords! They are all out there. They are all... waiting. And they are all gonna eat us for fucking breakfast unless we get our shit together and do something!"
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Two examples:
    • Caitlyn, Brandon's crush, is never mentioned ever again after he kills her mother.
    • The last we see of Brandon's aunt Merilee was in the hospital with Tori and Kyle after Brandon kills her husband Noah.
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity:
    • Brandon becomes more cruel and terrifying once he discovers his powers. He may not have had a choice in the matter due to his ship.
    • By extrapolation, this seems to be the case with the Expies of Aquaman and Wonder Woman in the credits. In all, it seems that the superhuman power itself makes for evil.
  • Worst Aid: Should you ever have the misfortune of getting a long shard of glass stuck in your eyeball, do not pull it out no matter how badly it hurts. That'll only make it worse.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: Mrs. Breyer gives this every time Brandon would need cheering up. It didn't work when they both needed it the most.
  • You Have to Believe Me!:
    • Caitlyn uses this word for word when telling her mother that Brandon was outside her window. It's not known if she believes her daughter at the time, but she certainly does after Brandon crushes Caitlyn's hand.
    • Brandon's parents find themselves up against this trope when they discuss getting help for Brandon. Who's going to believe them, and who is qualified to deal with the situation in a world with no Avengers or The Men in Black-type organisation?
  • Your Head A-Splode: Brandon burns a gaping hole through Kyle’s head with his heat vision.


Video Example(s):



A happy couple who dreams of starting a family has their wish come true one night when a rocket ship crash-lands near their farm, and a baby boy is found on board. The couple takes him in as their own and raise him lovingly. They soon find out that he has extraordinary superpowers. Sound familiar?<br><br>Well, that's about where the similarities end. Because, unfortunately for everyone around him, this boy - named Brandon - doesn't plan on using his powers for noble causes...

How well does it match the trope?

5 (7 votes)

Example of:

Main / SuperheroHorror

Media sources: