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Credit: Sony Pictures

Brightburn: First trailer for James Gunn-produced horror film is like a creepy take on Superman

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Dec 15, 2018, 11:39 AM EST (Updated)

After months of radio silence, James Gunn is making his return to the big screen with Brightburn, a horror movie he produced at Sony. The trailer for the mysterious project (directed by The Hive's David Yarovesky) is now online, and it essentially asks the question "What if Superman was evil?"

Written by James' brother, Brian, and his cousin, Mark, the movie stars Elizabeth Banks and David Denman as a farm-dwelling couple (a la Ma and Pa Kent) who have their prayers for a baby answered when one crashes in their backyard. As the child grows, however, he begins to exhibit supernatural powers and strange tendencies, ones that isolate him from normal kids and drive him to lash out in scary and murderous ways. At that point, no one can control him, not even his adoptive parents.

Watch the trailer below:

From the typeface that recalls Zack Snyder's Man of Steel, to the kid's red cape and his notebook full of logo doodles, to his red-eyed laser vision and ability to fly, there is no question that Brightburn is a Twilight Zone-y take on Clark Kent, with shades of Jeff Nichols Midnight Special thrown into the mix. This young alien fancies himself a superhero, but he ain't here to fight for truth, justice, and the American way. 

"About a year ago my brother Brian, my cousin Mark, director David Yarovesky, producer Simon Hatt, and I started coming up with an idea for a horror film that excited me in a way nothing outside of Guardians has in years -- it was personal, and different, and perfectly suited for our times. And, yes, terrifying," wrote Gunn on Facebook in March.

The film is set to be Gunn's first theatrical release since he was fired as director of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 over the summer. Disney severed all ties with the filmmaker after old tweets of his (involving jokes about rape and pedophilia) resurfaced online. Despite a lengthy apology and collective support from the Guardians cast, the House of Mouse did not reverse its decision.

Gunn's career didn't fizzle out, however, as reports began to surface that he was in high demand among other studios. Once his termination deal with Disney was finished, it was announced that he'd signed on to write and direct a Suicide Squad sequel to Warner Bros.' DC Extended Universe.

Brightburn will be released on May 24, 2019. Originally planned for a Nov. 30 opening, it was pushed back by Sony in early October.

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