Burning Bright (film)
|Directed by||Carlos Brooks|
|Produced by||Wayne Morris
|Written by||David Higgins
Christine Coyle Johnson
Julie Prendiville Roux
|Music by||Zack Ryan|
|Editing by||Miklos Wright|
|Running time||86 min.|
The film opens with a man driving a circus trailer down a silent road. He meets up with another man, John Gaveneau (Garret Dillahunt), and it is revealed that he is attempting to purchase a bengal tiger for the creation of a "Safari Ranch". Initially not believing the tiger looks dangerous or exciting enough, the seller tells him a gruesome story and claims that the tiger is evil. We then see his stepdaughter, Kelly (Briana Evigan), with her autistic brother, Tom (Charlie Tahan), whom she has taken to a special hospital in order for him to get the care he needs while she is at college. However, Kelly's check is rejected and when she phones her bank she is informed that John withdrew all the money and closed the account.
Bringing the tiger home John instructs his workers, illegal immigrants, to board up the house against the coming hurricane. As the windows are secured Kelly confronts John and begs him to give her the remainder of the money, but he reveals that he spent it on a tiger and there isn't anything left. Kelly is angry at him, telling him that her mother (who committed suicide by taking an overdose of pills) wanted the money to go to Tom and Kelly. However, there was no official will, so John just took the money for himself. Upset, Kelly calls her college professor and asked to defer her start to college until the second semester, citing family issues, but is revealed that she is on a scholarship and has already deferred twice, and although her professor has sympathy for her, he tells her that if she does not start college that semester, he will give the scholarship money to someone else.
After sending Tom to bed, she undresses and goes to bed as well, dreaming of suffocating Tom so she wouldn't have to take care of him anymore. While she sleeps, the front door is opened, and an unknown person releases the tiger into the house. Waking, Kelly goes downstairs to the kitchen for a drink, finding a note from John claiming that he has gone to the store. Returning upstairs, she hears sounds in the house and as she decides to investigate, she sees the tiger cross the foyer beneath her.
In her room she tries to break open a window, but find it is boarded up; as she moves around the house she discovers that all of the windows and the doors have been secured and she is trapped. Tom is missing from his bed, and she is unable to use the house phone as the hurricane has brought down the phone lines, finding her phone is not on the charger where it is supposed to be she realizes that she has accidentally dropped it down the laundry chute with her clothes. She sneaks into the laundry room to retrieve it, but due to the high volume of calls, is unable to contact emergency services. She tries calling John, but his cell phone is in his car. Then, we see that John is sitting at a bar drinking beer and gambling.
Kelly tries to break the laundry room window and finds that it is loose, but the tiger quickly hears her banging at the wood and breaks down the door. Kelly climbs into the laundry chute and hides while the tiger prowls the laundry room. As she sweats profusely the phone begins to ring, it is 911 attempting to return her call, but the tiger smashes the handset. Just as the tiger is about to leave a drop of sweat falls to the floor and the tiger investigates, licking the floor before looking up into the chute. It attacks, but Kelly is able to climb up the chute and escape to the second floor.
In the bathroom she finds Tom sitting quietly. She takes him to hide in John's room, and tries logging on to his computer, but finds that the internet is also down due to the storm. The tiger suddenly bangs on the door, and she and Tom hide under the bed. The Tiger sees them and attacks, but they manage to push the bed sideways, allowing them to escape. Kelly takes Tom down to the kitchen where his loud demands for breakfast threaten to draw the tiger's attention. To keep Tom quiet, Kelly brings him some protein bars. Then taking some ground beef from the refrigerator, she rolls some pills into the meat and drops it in the hallway in hopes of drugging the tiger. She and Tom hide in the guest room, which is being redecorated, Kelly has Tom hide in the closet while she tries to break through one of the windows, but the tiger manages to break through the door. In the closet, Kelly breaks through the dry wall into the hall but the tiger claws her leg as she is climbing through the hole.
Bleeding heavily, Kelly and Tom hide in John's study, where she pushes the heavy desk against the door. She bandages her leg and discovers that John has taken out life insurance policies on both her and Tom. In the study she finds a handgun, but there are only five bullets, she loads the gun and sneaks out into the hallway hoping to shoot the tiger, she tells Tom to go to the laundry room. As the tiger approaches, she cocks the gun but the first chamber is empty and Kelly is forced to flee.
In the laundry room she is able to break the board over the window and climbs out just as the tiger breaks in and leaps to attack her. She runs to her car, but as she tries to start the engine she wrestles with the knowledge that Tom is still alone in the house and doesn't realize how much danger he is in. She returns to the house and climbs back in through the window. Upon finding Tom she promises that she will never abandon him. She intends to lead him to the laundry room, but as the tiger attacks she instructs Tom to climb into the massive chest freezer John had bought upon deciding to open the Safari Ranch. Safe from the tiger for the moment, she hums a lullaby so Tom will fall asleep.
The next morning Kelly wakes to the faint sounds of drilling, it is John removing the board from the front door. Kelly and Tom climb out of the freezer and walk into the foyer to see John wielding a rifle and intending to kill the tiger. Kelly says that Tom doesn't understand what happened, so John should let them go. John reveals that Kelly's mom was going to leave him, so he killed her and made it look like suicide. At this moment the tiger leaps at John and drags him a few feet away to begin eating, allowing Kelly and Tom to sneak out of the house. Standing outside in the wreckage of the previous night's storm, Tom takes Kelly's hand and they begin to walk across the yard.
- Briana Evigan - Kelly Taylor
- Charlie Tahan - Tom Taylor
- Garret Dillahunt - Johnny Gavenue
- Meat loaf - Howie
The film was panned for critics, although it was received positively.
- McNary, Dave (2008-06-10). "Evigan is 'Burning Bright' for Sobini; Carlos Brooks to direct tiger thriller". Daily Variety.
Although burning bright was a dvd release, it has received mostly positive reviews on websites.