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Burning Bright (DVD)

Burning Bright on DVDReviewed by Uncle Creepy

Starring Briana Evigan, Garret Dillahunt, Charlie Tahan, Meat Loaf, three badass tigers

Directed by Carlos Brooks

Distributed by Lionsgate Home Entertainment


I’ll never forget the first time I read the synopsis. A young girl trapped in a house with her autistic brother during a hurricane while being menaced by a man-eating tiger. Really? How could this possibly friggin’ work? Immediately I wrote this off as a job for Foy. Yet, like the proverbial cat I was curious. After much trepidation and a good deal of mocking, I decided to take the ride. Holy shit.

Johnny Gavineau (Dillahunt) is a man with a dream. After the untimely passing of his wife, he decides to convert their former home into a safari park complete with wild animals. However, in order to do so properly, he realized that he needs a tiger. So who does he call? Meat Loaf. Yes, that Meat Loaf. I mean, come on, guys, only Meat Loaf could bring the tiger! He’s just that much of a badass! I guess this was the one thing that he wouldn’t do for love. Finally, the mystery is solved! Meat Loaf (doing his best Dr. Loomis) informs Johnny upon purchase that this is not just any tiger. No. This one is pure evil (and hasn’t eaten in two weeks). I shit you not.

With his evil tiger in tow, Gavineau heads back to the newly on the way to being converted home that he shares with his step-daughter (Evigan) and her mentally challenged brother (Tahan). With mom gone, raising these two kids is no doubt going to prove to be quite the burden. One he’s just not ready for. So after boarding up the house because a massive hurricane is headed their way, he decides to set the starving beast loose as a means to kill the kids so that he can collect on their insurance policies. Again … I shit you not.

Burning Bright on DVDFrom there Burning Bright turns into a literal game of cat and mouse that shares quite a few similarities to the entire Halloween franchise, if you can believe that. Our shapely tiger crashes through the louver doors of a closet the kids are hiding in, chases them through laundry chutes, and even busts through walls to get them. The sick part? I have no idea how, but everything, despite how silly it may sound, works! With subject matter this — strange — director Carlos Brooks really only had two choices. He could either end up making one hell of a bad movie or swing for the friggin’ fences.

Needless to say he swung and managed to surprisingly enough knock it out of the park. Seriously. I’m stymied. Things aren’t all good, though, as the flick does suffer from the usual pitfalls of a movie in this vein. There’s a little bit too much melodrama in the interactions between autistic brother and overly solicitous sister. Characters tend to make questionable choices and at times don’t really react the way that any rational person would. For instance – if you managed to escape a hellish day of being chased by a man-eating animal, would you run like hell or would you take a moment to sit and take a breather? Me? I’d be running like Carl Lewis into the next state and beyond. But what can you do, right? If people didn’t make silly decisions, we wouldn’t have any movies to watch. These bumps in the road never really serve to disrupt the otherwise smooth ride too much, and as a result Burning Bright proves to be one hell of an intense experience.

Now on to the bad … the DVD itself. Other than Briana Evigan reciting the poem The Tiger by William Blake as an intro and a short yet effective behind-the-scenes jaunt, we get nothing. Not even a commentary. Talk about a missed opportunity. One of the things the viewer learns and will no doubt appreciate during the making-of featurette is that there’s not a single CGI shot of a tiger in this flick. It was all pulled off by utilizing a mixture of practical and composite shots. That being said, how in the world could there not be more to talk about? It’s confounding!

What we have here, folks, is one of the sleeper flicks of the year. Burning Bright might well sound like the dumbest thing you’ve ever heard of, but make no mistake … it’s a snarling beast of a movie that will – to my absolute astonishment – leave you white-knuckled and thoroughly entertained. For the last time … I shit you not!

Special Features

  • Introduction by Briana Evigan
  • Forces of Nature featurette

    Film

    4 out of 5

    Special Features

    2 out of 5

    Discuss Burning Bright in our forums!

  • Steve Barton

    You're such an inspiration for the ways that I will never, ever choose to be.

    • Floydian Trip

      This movie was very well made. I totally bought that the tiger(s) and the kids were in the same scene. All with only a few drops of CGI drool. The girl did an excellent job of reacting to nothing. I thought it was just as effective as any slasher movie and better than any that have come out in the last few years. It’s one that I’ll toss in every now and then for sure and also one that will be mentioned 10 years from now on horror forums when discussing quality, obscure movies. It really shouldn’t be obscure because horror fans should give this one a shot.

    • Styling Shatner

      I’ll agree with Creepy here in saying that this movie is far better done and much more enjoyable than you might expect. Craft and flair are shown here and I appreciated the lack of awful CGI. It’s not just a wacky plot and a very attractive lady in the lead who doesn’t wear a lot of clothes for much of her time on the screen. Briana Evigan does a great job with her lead role and it is as fun as Creepy said it was.

      Also, I’m glad that he reviewed it in a mature manner and didn’t make crass remarks about Briana. Not that anyone buried her for her performance. Rather, they pretty much drooled all over her and made crass remarks about what they’d like to see her do or like to do to her. Sure, I think she’s very pretty but I am glad this site is above that sort of crass humor. Talking about her looks downplays the real nice job she did here.

    • Barfneck

      I thought this sucked. Had very little expectations for this and thought it was lame that there was only kill in the entire movie. The idea that a Tiger would spend all of that time biting each individual piece of wood off of that closet to get to the 2 kids was an insult. That fucker would’ve just smashed through it and mauled the little shits. As far fetched as the idea was to have a Tiger inside of a house to kill a couple kids, it was even more far fetched that they made the Tiger to be the complete opposite of what it would obviously have been. The fucking tiger was supposedly starved for couple weeks and put in a house with 2 kids. Come on, the tiger wouldn’t have taken 60 mins to find and kill those kids.

      • Uncle Creepy

        So you’re doubting the realism of a movie that has two kids trapped in a house during a hurricane with a mean-eating tiger that was delivered by Meat Loaf. Gotcha! LOL

        • GJW

          Well…..bad news from Ram Land. I read the “Neighbor” and this review a few days ago. I decided on going with “Neighbor” first. Twenty minutes in(Maybe that,I stopped it at the first basement scene when she said I’m not a stripper or whatever), I lost all interest and turned it off. That woman just did NOT do it for me. Just shitty,shitty acting. I will still give this a chance though.

          • Uncle Creepy

            You missed out dude. That movie gets friggin’ insane. But why not comment about it in ITS REVIEW weirdo! LOL

            • GJW

              Because I clicked on a comment on the right that I wanted to read. It brought me here. I read it. It made me think of the other movie. If I was to look for the other thread it would take me about thirty,MAYBE forty seconds. Those are seconds I will never ever get back. SO, here it went. Now,just because I can,I’m going to go over to the Piranha review thread and make a comment about this movie. (LOL,J/K). Have a fun weekend.

    • G.D.

      “From there Burning Bright turns into a literal game of cat and mouse”

      I believe for it to be a “literal” game of cat and mouse you would need to have a cat. And a mouse.

      Pretty decent movie though. Didn’t have much in the way of expectations for it and ended up having a pretty good time with it.

    • GJW

      I was going to pass on this. But 4/5? I’ll check it out now. Thanks for the review.

    • e-x-i-t

      extra credit for not making a “lionsgate” pun or saying “it’s grrrrrrrrrrrreat!” thanks for the review…horror and tigers; two of my favorite things but i probably would have passed this up without hearing the positives.

    • Cinemascribe

      “I would do anything for love..but I won’t do CAT…”

      Badabing! I’m here all week,folks. Ty the pepper steak! Don’t forget to tip your waiter!

      Seriously, though, I’m going to check this one out. Sounds awesome. I shit you not.

      __________________________________________
      “I’m saying that I’m an insect who dreamt he was a man…and loved it. But now the dream is over..and the insect is awake.” – Seth Brundle

    • fceurich39

      will pick this up on tuesday probably at walmart for 15.00

    • Sirand

      Definitely better than I expected…however…

      *SPOILER*

      Since we’re dealing with two kids in danger, you know that neither one will get eaten, so it kind of takes a lot of the suspense out.

      *END SPOILER*

      Still, very well directed for what it is.