Monday, April 20, 2020

Burning Bright, Tiger vs. Babe

Briana Evigan is one of those actresses that makes movies we actually want to see. Sure, we have to pretend to have seen and liked Oscar-nominated bore-athons. In reality, we don't and secretly yearn for films that will excite and titillate. In 2010's "Burning Bright," we have an epic that shows us what it would look like if "Rain Man" was a horror show. Directed by Carlos Brooks, and featuring real tigers in the filming, this Briana Evigan film is horrific and touching.
Kelly (Evigan) is a pure saint. After her mom's death, she becomes the caretaker of her severely autistic ten year old brother, Tom (Charlie Tahan). Her world is about to crumble as she will have to bypass a college scholarship because her arrangements to put Tom in an institution fall through. Now she is facing a prospect of caring for her brother 24 hours a day for the rest of her life. Even worse, Tom is so severely autistic, he is incapable of showing any love or appreciation to Kelly and her sacrifice. Kelly's stepdad, Johnny (Garret Dillahunt), stole her savings and has taken out a mega-life insurance policy on her and Tom. With the stolen funds Johnny buys a serial killer tiger for his safari theme park.
The hurricane hits. Kelly and Tom are seemingly safe in their boarded up house. Uh oh, the house has been so well boarded up that there is no way out...and Johnny has released the tiger inside it, as well. As Kelly has dreams of doing all sorts of awful things to Tom, she wakes frightened of what she may have been fantasizing. No matter, as the tiger begins stalking her and Tom, she becomes his protector. Unable to process reality, Kelly must use her history and relationship with Tom to protect him and manipulate him into acting to survive. Kelly's protection of Tom is a chance at redemption for all her recent awful thoughts. With no way out, Kelly will have to turn from prey to hunter, but the tiger is a born hunter...and it hasn't eaten in two weeks. Tom's autism provides a challenge for Kelly and seems to foil her attempts at besting the toothy tormentor.
Kelly's relationship with Tom is intense and touching. Those caring for a severely autistic child, or adult, will have tears in their eyes. Will Kelly survive and be able to face her homicidal stepfather? Will Tom, if Kelly saves him, ever show any kind of love or appreciation to Kelly? Are the tiger and hurricane vicious metaphors for our futile existence that has us never learning to co-exist with weather and our animal compadres? So listen up Spike Lee and Ang Lee...your films are garbage and no one actually likes them! Give us Briana Evigan and the modern day B movie, and enjoy "Burning Bright," and perhaps envision this as the 21st Century version, albeit a more vicious one, of "B.J. and the Bear."


  1. Great review Christopher & I gotta say I quite liked this one, despite thinking before seeing it that the premise sounded kinda silly but I found it a lot better than I was expecting, would definitely second the rec for thisone.

  2. Hollywood takes cool to the extreme, who actually really lives like that, that when a genuine film comes along, we watch it for the pure joy, boreathons are a hollywood trademark, repedalling sequels.

  3. ‪Great review Chris.
    I’ll be checking this movie out today �� thanks!‬