Coming up with new ideas for horror isn’t easy. Most situations have now been used, and many objects and creatures have been demonised for the purposes of entertainment.
As far as animals go, it’s not easy to think of one that hasn’t made a horror appearance, particularly if said animal is a predator. Which brings us to tigers and this interesting picture.
No doubt film-makers have wanted to use the powerful feline, but the issue is how to take them from the jungles of Asia and put them in an environment that is more familiar to the western audiences. Welcome to Burning Bright.
When John, widowed step-father of two, wants to find a new way to make a living, rather than go back to college or use the usual means to further himself, he opts for the ‘build a safari park at your home’ idea. We’ve all been there.
Meeting with Meat Loaf, now working at a circus (times are hard) John manages to secure himself a Bengal Tiger which is young, healthy and most importantly ‘evil’.
His stepdaughter Kelly (Briana Evigan) doesn’t share his enthusiasm for wild animals. She is keen to secure a university scholarship but is held back somewhat by the care commitments that she has for her younger, autistic brother Tom. With their mother dead and any money now tied up in the safari park, Kelly is desperate to find a way to improve her life while making sure that Tom is safe.
Pondering this predicament, Kelly and Tom go to sleep while outside their home a hurricane approaches. John boards up the doors and windows to protect the place from storm damage, and somewhere along the line, the tiger ends up out of his cage and in the house with Kelly and Tom.
With the doors and windows secured from the outside, the siblings struggle to survive as the striped killing machine stalks them.
There were two things about this film that made us feel it would be suitable to review on Love Horror. The first being that it is to be screened at the 2010 Film4 Frightfest, and the second being that it just sounded completely nuts.
Seeing just how the tiger was going to be worked into the story seemed like entertainment enough – whether it would be scary or not was hardly considered.
However, somehow Burning Bright glosses over the unlikely aspects of the plot, the end result: a movie that is grrrrreat (sorry, I had to put a Tony the Tiger reference in there somewhere).
It’s exciting, it’s gripping, and the simplicity of it all allows you to detach that rational part of your brain just enough to really be able to enjoy the experience.
It’s not overly predictable, it’s nicely shot and doesn’t worry about the details. You’re fast plunged into the action, and that’s an important thing. Because when you go to see a movie about a killer tiger, you don’t want an hour of back story, you want to see some tiger action dammit!
Hailed as ‘coming from the studios that brought you The Mist’ the influence in some areas is quite apparent. There is a slight element of wrongness to the story that makes you question your own morals, kind of like you had to do during the climax of The Mist.
Kelly often finds herself compromised because of having to look out for her disabled brother and at times you wonder if she might see the situation as a solution to her university problem – a way to make sure that Tom is ‘taken care of’, but with less medication and more ‘being consumed by a ferocious animal’.
This element adds an interesting dynamic to the tale and makes the experience even more engaging.
At times, the special effects do look a tad unconvincing. This is because the footageof the tiger is all real and shot in the house, which means that they have had to paste a lot of tiger versus human bits together. But if you watch, you’ll probably agree that this approach is still far better than if they had taken the CGI route. A tiger would be a nightmare to animate well, and a poorly animated CGI tiger could have ruined this movie.
Unconventional and absorbing, frightening and fun, Burning Bright looks set to get a lot of media attention.
It’s a rip-roaringly good film, with an emphasis on the ripping and roaring!
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