There's a motherfuckin' tiger in this motherfuckin' house!
Burning Bright is a flick that I had known about for a while but surprisingly hadn't heard much about until it started popping up on several best of 2010 lists over the past couple weeks. Given the whacky and totally original plot, i'm really not sure why I didn't immediately purchase it back in August when it hit DVD and why no one demanded I do so, for that matter. Wrap your head around this shit!
Meatloaf (yes, THE Meatloaf) sells a circus tiger to a man at the start of the film, which he says was kicked out of the circus for eating a horse alive. Oh, and this particular beast hasn't eaten in weeks. The man blows his step-daughter's savings to buy the ravenous tiger for a safari park he plans on starting on his property. Because the step-daughter now has no money, she can't put her autistic brother in a home while she's off at college, so she's forced to stay at her step-father's house, which has just been completely boarded up in preparation for the impending hurricane. Naturally, the girl and her brother get locked in the house with the starving tiger, with no means of escape. Let the (Dilla)hunt begin.
How's that for a setup?
While this totally off the wall idea could've gone completely haywire in the wrong hands, director Carlos Brooks manages to turn it into the film you hope it is after reading that plot description, making Burning Bright a wildy original, suspenseful and highly entertaining animal on the loose flick that even manages to pack an emotional punch amidst all the chaos. It's movies like this one that make me glad I didn't make a 'Best of 2010' list before having seen it, because I wouldn't feel right not having it on there. In addition to being one of my new favorites of the year, it's also one of the best killer animal movies in a good long while (and one of the rare few these days that actually uses a real animal, rather than a CG one). It's not a perfect film, but it more than gets the job done in its efforts to be a modern day retelling of Cujo, a movie it borrows heavily from.
Before I exit this post, I just want to stress that this isn't the over the top cheesefest you might expect it to be based on that plot. You get all the juicy tiger action you would want, but it's all within the confines of a really serious and solid horror flick. Ok, off to Redbox you go.