Jackson A. Dunn stars in a scene from the movie "Brightburn." The Catholic News Service classification is O -- morally offensive. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian. (CNS photo/Screen Gems)
Jackson A. Dunn stars in a scene from the movie "Brightburn." The Catholic News Service classification is O -- morally offensive. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian. (CNS photo/Screen Gems)
NEW YORK (CNS) -- Lives there a parent of a sulking 12-year-old boy on the cusp of adolescence who has not uttered out loud to their spouse the following words: "He's not our son. We found him in the woods."

Possibly not. But in "Brightburn" (Screen Gems), it's the only realistic dialogue in a messy, gory and numbing slaughter that tries to meld the creation myth of the "Superman" saga with the demon-spawn story of "The Omen."

The Breyers, Tori and Kyle (Elizabeth Banks and David Denman), have had trouble conceiving a baby, so when there's a giant boom in their Brightburn, Kansas, backyard which turns out to be an infant landing from parts unknown, wrapped in a red fabric -- they somehow adopt him.

By the time young Brandon (Jackson A. Dunn) is 10, he's realizing he has immense physical strength, and nothing will cut him or cause him to bleed. He's also drawn, as if sleepwalking, to whatever red, glowing evidence of his arrival on Earth is out there in the barn.

When he turns 12, he's discovering a taste for blood and mayhem, beginning with the family's chicken coop and including a young classmate, Caitlyn (Emmie Hunter), who rebuffs his clumsy middle-school attempts at pitching woo.

Tori, who typically sees only Brandon's sensitive personality, is his constant defender who tries to rationalize his rage through a series of encounters with his school and law enforcement, and angry parents of the children Brandon has terrorized.

Brandon fashions himself a mask from the textile he arrived with, and when he gets angry and his eyes glow orange -- well, the horse has left the barn, so to speak.

Director David Yarovesky and screenwriters Brian Gunn and Mark Gunn have not provided an underlying psychological message here, or an allegory about troubled adolescence. It's just a sloppy horror tale best missed.

The film contains a warped sense of moral values, pervasive gore, and fleeting rough language and profanities. The Catholic News Service classification is O -- morally offensive. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.