Amongst the output of theatrical horror releases in 2019, Braid has been one of the more talked about indie releases. Its premise promises the sort of twisty psychological horror reminiscent of early Giallo thrillers or the more recent Black Swan. First-time director Mitzi Peirone looks to re-kindle a more psychologically trippy approach to horror thrillers. Does Braid tap into the same dark thrills that Piercing did earlier this year?
Petula and Tilda are petty thieves and drug dealers. When police unexpectedly raid their apartment, the young women are forced to abandon their stash and go on the run. To recover their losses, Petula and Tilda visit the mansion of a wealthy, but psychotic, friend, Daphne. However, their plans to rob the house safe quickly take a backseat to the unstable Daphne’s bizarre and increasingly dangerous games.
Braid A Visually Stylish Thriller
Old-school Giallo thrillers look to be making a bit of a comeback. Already in 2019 we’ve seen the delightfully dark Piercing. Writer and director Mitzi Peirone certainly the same colourful palette of 70’s Giallo thrillers. Like Coralie Fargeat (Revenge), Peirone illustrates a visual flair and knack for framing haunting shots. In particular, one drug-fueled scene is awash in colourful hues juxtaposed with the movie’s haunting tone.
…Braid is a tightly-paced thriller that maintains a foreboding atmosphere over its runtime.
And speaking of tone, Braid is a tightly-paced thriller that maintains a foreboding atmosphere over its runtime. Horror fans expecting Eli Roth-inspired grindhouse gore or something akin to Lucio Fulci will be disappointed. Instead Peirone exercises restraint. That is, Braid’s violent moments punctuate extended periods of ambiguity and dread. In many ways, the result is far more shocking.
Braid Elevated By Smart Storytelling
Where Braid truly excels as a psychological thriller is in Petrione’s story-telling. Petrione follows the number one rule of suspense. She shows rather than tells. No lazy expository dialogue here. Braid twists and demands your attention from its opening frame. While it lags a little in the middle, Petrione’s final moments elevate the movie above more generic fare. Similar to the Suspiria remake, Braid’s ambiguous ending will frustrate some viewers. Others will enjoy puzzling over its meaning. Though Braid is too art-house to compare to The Sixth Sense, its final twist is a nice cap to a bizarre thriller.
Madeline Brewer Delivers Another Stand-Out Performance
Last fall, Madeline Brewer impressesd critics and genre fans alike with the unsettling Netflix thriller, Cam. In what’s essentially a three-person show, Brewer once again shines with an outstanding performance. Her ‘Daphne’ manages to be both instantly sympathetic and menacing. Simply put, Brewer convinces as a disturbed and erratic young woman that should unsettle audiences. Brewer is very capably assisted by co-stars, Sarah Hay and Imogen Waterhouse.
Braid A Challenging and Hypnotic Thriller
Mitzi Peirone’s feature-length directorial debut is a bold effort. Like the best surrealist thrillers, Braid’s hypnotic visuals straddle a fine line between characters’ fantasies and the ‘real world’. Peirone’s endings is the kind of ambiguous and cerebral twist that should leave viewers thinking long after the credits have finished rolling. Ultimately, Braid is a challenging thriller that will demand your full attention, but should satisfy most indie thriller fans.
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