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Brazen is a low quality, melodramatic whodunnit that fails to hit the already low bar of mid-level murder mysteries.

Written by Tresca Mallon

In the opening scene Dominatrix Desiree (Emilie Ullerup) does her thing. It turns out Desiree is actually Kathleen, a teacher and the sister of prolific crime writer Grace Miller. Grace (Alyssa Milano) is staying with Kathleen, and while out on a date with cop Ed (Sam Page), Kathleen is murdered. Her murderer goes on to kill more dominatrixes. As a pattern emerges Kathleen teams up with the local police to hunt down her sister's killer.

Alyssa Milano’s mediocre performance allows a film that already drags to feel even more laborious. Her character Grace Miller is egotistical and totally unlikeable with seemingly no redeeming features. The flavourless relationship between Grace and Ed only adds to the monotony. Page’s bland performance offers very little to the plot as he is outshone by his partner Ben (Malachi Weir) who is no more than a plot device for comic relief.

While the plot could have been intriguing if cliche-ridden, the execution is pretty close to abysmal. Chocked full of distracting focus pulls, an inappropriately dramatic soundtrack and shoddy directing, there are very few silver linings to this cheese-fest. The murderer is jarringly obvious from early on which makes the rest of the plot largely redundant. Grace’s plan to trap the murder borders on farcical. The dialogue is clunky, producing some gems like “Grace you got guts and a twisty mind,” from the world’s worst police chief (Alison Araya) who allows Grace to consult on the murder of her own sister because she is a fan of her books.

In another world this could have been a comment on incel culture, or on the every day faces behind online sex workers. It could even have been a campy or satirical take on a tired genre. But unfortunately Brazen is too earnest in it’s straightforwardness to get away with any of them. The only hope for a plot like this, with a better protagonist, is a Mentalist-esque crime drama TV show which reruns on Alibi for eternity.



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