In this weak attempt at an investigative procedural, we have Grace Miller (Alyssa Milano), a successful crime novelist, who finds herself embroiled in a case involving her murdered sister, Kathleen. Incidentally, her latest crush is the investigating officer Ed (Sam Page). After a couple of dispassionate appeals based on her credentials as the film’s producer, I mean, a crime writer, who has “an instinct for motive”, Grace gets onboard the investigation.
Kathleen is a high school teacher who doubles up as a virtual dominatrix at a place called Fantasy Inc. Her escapades lead to her murder, and while this is not a commentary on her professional choices, it does establish that there is a killer on the loose who is targetting women of her kind. Make no mistake, the film is as campy as it can get, with even a sex scene thrown in just for kicks.
However, the campiest it gets is with its dialogues and the oh-so-convenient coincidences. Unfortunately for the film, there is also much unintended humour coming our way as Grace goes about the investigation unmindful of how an actual investigation is to happen. She moves on purely based on the aforementioned “instinct” and in a crucial scene when she flirts with danger, no one… I mean… not even the top cops seem to think things through. One of them even says, “Grace, you got guts and a twisty mind.” Nope, not true at all.
There are many red herrings in the investigation, including a manipulative ex-husband, and a brooding and influential student, who turn out to be more distractions really. Things get handed to the investigators on a platter, and clues crop up when they need it the most. The antagonist does exactly what is required to get caught. The whole film is convenient and a farce.
Clocking in at just over 90 minutes, Brazen feels more like an extended episode of a long-running police drama. However, as this is the first time we are meeting Grace and Ed, we can neither buy into their chemistry nor their supposed investigative acumen. This is a missed opportunity.
Director: Monika Mitchell