Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Burning Bright

(2010) ****

Kelly’s life is spinning out of control. Her mother recently committed suicide leaving Kelly behind with an autistic brother, Tom, and a jerk stepfather, Johnny. Although Kelly has the opportunity to go to college with a scholarship, she would have to leave her brother behind. An attempt to place Tom in a special care facility fails when she learns that her stepfather has stolen her inheritance in order to convert his ranch into a safari. Johnny spent most of the money on a large tiger, which hasn’t eaten in two weeks – “That’s how to teach them whose boss!” Johnny informs Kelly.

After unsuccessfully confronting Johnny she is forced to stay in his sprawling home with her brother because a category 4 hurricane is imminent. In preparation for the hurricane Johnny has the house boarded up like a prison. Late that night as the hurricane rages outside, Kelly awakes to find that the tiger has been let loose in the house and the front door has been boarded up from the outside. Did I mention that the tiger hasn’t eaten in two weeks?

If you can swallow the ridiculous setup you’ll be well rewarded. The majority of the film is Kelly tiptoeing around the house in silence in an attempt to find a way out while being stalked by a ferocious tiger. Long stretches of silence/tension are punctuated by terrifying tiger attacks. All 11 feet and 600+ pounds of him. A scene in a laundry chute is one of the tensest sequences I’ve seen in years. Adding to the pressure is Kelly’s autistic brother, who I’d throw to the tiger in order to escape (yes, he’s that annoying) because he is unable to appreciate the feline danger and often disobeys Kelly when she hides him in a room or closet and instructs him to remain quiet. Adding a raging hurricane was a necessary plot convenience but it’s ultimately brilliant! Even if Kelly is able to find a way out she’ll be confronted with the life-threatening storm.

It would be a tremendous disservice to sum this film up as “a woman is stalked by a tiger”, which while factually accurate does not capture the nail-biting tension the set-up affords. The tiger is very real and director Carlos Brooks does an excellent job showcasing just how scary it would be to encounter one of these orange monsters in real life. Loved this predicament!

Check out the trailer,


DCD said...

Sounds excellent! Was it a straight to dvd release? I've never heard of it.

JPX said...

I don't know if it's straight-to-DVD. I think it's more likely that it's an independent film that didn't receive a lot of press. I streamed it online - really fun stuff!

Johnny Sweatpants said...

Another great find JPX! Was there any CGI? I have yet to see a convincing animal mauling. Does anyone actually get killed by the tiger?

JPX said...

That's what's great, they use a real tiger for this, which is why it's so effective. It just makes you realize how terrifying tigers are. They're the land equivalent of Jaws. I'll remain mum about potential maulings.

Catfreeek said...

What a great discovery, I just put this in my queue. Nice review.

Whirlygirl said...

"An attempt to place Tom in a special care facility fails when she learns that her stepfather has stolen her inheritance in order to convert his ranch into a safari."

Jeez...what a jerk!

This sounds excellent and extremely tense. I would check it out now if I wasn't done watching horror until next year.

Julie said...

One of the comments on that YouTube trailer was, "What's next? Bee in the car?" Pretty funny. But this sounds great. I'm intrigued since supernatural stuff doesn't really scare me that much (except for the freaking Ring for some reason), but a real tiger would be scary.