Considering that they’re roughly on par when it comes to “good ideas,” Burning Bright should have taken a cue from Snakes on a Plane and called itself Tiger in a House. After all, when you hear the phrase ‘burning bright’ the things furthest from your mind are probably, in order: hurricanes, autism, tigers.
Burning Bright follows the plight (rhymes!) of a girl (Briana Evigan) and her autistic brother who find themselves stuck in a boarded up home with a very hungry tiger. You see, the step-father is building a zoo. And a hurricane is coming. And the tiger got in the house. During the hurricane. And the house was sealed shut with the kids in side. And the tiger is hungry.
One. Single. Underwhelming. Kill.
OH SNAP SON SOME DUDE GOT HIS FINGER BIT. He probably had to go get like, four stitches. Also, the tiger’s massive claws give Evigan a minor scratch on the leg. A guy is knocked down and the tiger starts to eat him alive. Not too graphic though.
Briana Evigan spends most of the movie in tight shorts and a small top and is often wet.
Don’t try to operate a zoo out of your backyard?
For a movie about two people trapped in a house with a tiger, this is as probably as good as you can make it without it just being 20 minutes of a tiger mauling people and tossing their limp bodies around like ragdolls. That said, I wasn’t overly entertained by the film. It was competently made and looked good in most areas, the score was effective, and Evigan did a good job acting against nothing, as she was never in the same room as the tiger.
Some of the tiger integration scenes are not that great, but I guess that’s what you get when you have a low budget and an ambitious goal of having a tiger stalk around a house without killing anyone for real. The tiger is, obviously, the coolest part of the movie, but then again I watch stuff like BBC’s Life all the time and just like looking at animals doing anything. It behaves just like a serial killer at some points, slinking through the shadows, licking the floor, and even searching a bedroom for the kids hidden underneath the bed. I chuckled at that, though I probably wasn’t meant to.
While the idea itself is okay, I just don’t think this movie was ever for me with only two people in the house. I’ve got a fierce bloodlust and with two children, you pretty much expect the death toll to be right around zero. Now, I do have to air something out for a minute, and this will be spoilers. So if you plan to watch the film, leave now. Or not, as you could probably guess what I’m going to say after the first ten minutes of the movie.
The Stepfather, played by Garrett Dillahunt, is a moron. We find out that he killed his wife, who was going to leave him, and that he put the tiger in the house on purpose, to kill the children. That way, he could keep all the money, the house, etc, for himself, and not pay to take care of the autistic child or send Evigan to college. The whole tiger angle is predicated on this guy building a zoo. A home zoo. With a tiger. This is obviously an idiotic idea. Then, when the stepfather shows up at the end expecting a bloody mess, he has a rifle to kill the tiger. His main attraction. Which he just spent $50,000 on.
So basically, this entire elaborate plot of building a zoo was all just a ruse so he could get a tiger and put it in a boarded up house and kill his stepkids so he could get the money. And he spent $50,000 on a tiger he was going to kill and who knows how much else on the other animals. Let’s say $25,000. So he has just spent $75,000 to gamble on a James Bond villain styled plot to kill his stepchildren, one that could be defeated by either staying in a locked room with a decent door or just using any heavy object to knock out a window, break the storm cover, and leave.
After some Googling, I’ve found that people have been arrested or confessed to hiring hitman, or being hitmen, for anywhere from $600 to $20,000 on the high side. “The Iceman,” a real life hitman who had a show on HBO, killed for an average of $1,600. So spending $75k on a gamble when you could shell out $4000 and have someone just drown your stepkids in a lake during a hurricane is pretty moronic. You can guess how that whole thing ends up for him.
I wish I could say this was worth checking out just for the idea or the tiger, but ultimately through the course of the film nothing interesting happens.