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A film with a tiger, a hurricane and Meat Loaf is hardly a recipe for success on paper, but thankfully Burning Bright is pleasant surprise. At an ultra-tight 80 minutes the film tells the story of Kelly (Briana Evigan) who is juggling the twin priorities of looking after her autistic brother Tom while trying to live her own life. Her Mother is dead and with her step-father using her inheritance to build a zoo instead of funding a school place for Tom, life is complicated. Her step-father has just spent $50,000 on a Bengali Tiger and to make matters worse after boarding up their house for a impending hurricane the damn tiger is let loose in the house. Who would have thought it!! Kelly spends the rest of the film escaping from the tiger and trying to protect her brother, while discovering the truth about her step-father’s intentions.
This is very much Jaws with paws as the Tiger is the real star of the show. Footage of the tiger was shot within the house using no animatronics, and it shows as the tiger pounces and moves around with real menace that makes this tense and uncomfortable viewing. The use of CGI is minimal and when it is used it fits in seamlessly with the teal Tiger footage.
The performances from the human cast are just as good as their feline counterpart with Briana Evigan showing acting muscles that weren’t put to use in her previous film Step Up 2: The Streets. While Meat Loaf gives his best performance since Fight Club, conveying dynamism and that dark edge that makes him slightly intimidating, this is a long way away from his appearances on Popstar to Operastar.
Visually Burning Bright is like a shot of tequila in the eye thanks to the razor sharp direction of Carlos Brooks. The tiger’s eye-camera work is effective and there are enough jump out shocks and chase sequences to suggest that this director should be given a bigger canvas. This is a horror film with real bite, that roars with terror, so give it a watch.

Words: John Barker