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Film / Burning Bright

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Burning Bright is a 2010 thriller/horror film starring Garret Dillahunt, Briana Evigan, and Charlie Tahan.

Kelly Taylor has already had more than her share of struggles lately, trying to start college while making sure her brother Tom (who is on the autism spectrum) gets taken care of, and being thwarted in both by her stepfather, John's, control over the family's money. However, her difficulties turn to danger when someone lets a tiger, John's star attraction for his planned safari ranch, into their house during a hurricane. Now Kelly must use all her courage and resources to protect herself and her brother against the ferocious invader.

Not to be confused with the fantasy book of the same name or with the Superhero Horror film Brightburn.

This film contains examples of the following tropes:

  • Asshole Victim: John killed his wife and tried to kill his step-children for the insurance, so nobody is particularly sorry when he's killed by the tiger.
  • Book Ends: Near the beginning, the tiger's owner tells John a horrific story, claiming the tiger paralyzed and started eating a circus horse in front of tourists. At the end, the tiger does the same thing to John.
  • Cell Phones Are Useless: Kelly tries to call emergency services, but, the film taking place during a hurricane, she can't actually get them on the line due to the large number of calls.
  • Driven to Suicide: Kelly and Tom's mother overdosed on pills at some point before the film began. However, John admits eventually that he killed her to keep her from leaving him and staged it as suicide.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: John ends up getting killed by the tiger he purchased to kill his step-children.
  • Insurance Fraud: John released the tiger into the house with Kelly and Tom, hoping to collect insurance.
  • Just Desserts: John buys the tiger and tries to use it to kill his stepchildren, only to end up getting attacked and Eaten Alive by the same tiger when he comes back to the house.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: The tiger is called "Lucifer."
  • Panthera Awesome: The Bengal tiger John bought serves as the main antagonist for much of the film.
  • Shout-Out: The title refers to William Blake's poem "The Tyger."
  • Super-Persistent Predator: The tiger keeps trying to attack Kelly and Tom. However, it had been starved for nearly a week and locked in the house with them, and there was no other food supply.
  • Trapped-with-Monster Plot: Kelly wakes up during a hurricane to find herself and Tom trapped with a tiger.
  • What You Are in the Dark: At one point, Kelly has a chance to get out of the house on her own and leave Tom behind, sparing her the burden of having to cope with his autism in a manner where she could make a legitimate argument that she couldn't afford to deal with him without them both getting killed, but instead she accepts the risk of going back for him.