Braid

Movie review by
Danny Brogan, Common Sense Media
Braid Movie Poster Image
Creepy psychological horror has graphic violence and drugs.
  • R
  • 2018
  • 82 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Drug use and drug dealing are prominent themes. Characters steal, with the central plot involving two friends' plan to rob a former friend.

Positive Role Models & Representations

None of the characters has any admirable character traits. Two are criminals who take and deal drugs, as well as steal. Another suffers from an unspecified mental illness that causes her to believe that she's living in a fantasy world and have violent outbursts.

Violence

Violence throughout, with much blood. A character is brutally killed, being first stabbed in the back before being beaten with various instruments, including a hammer; lots of blood spatter. Body parts are then thrown into a grave. Characters are hit on the head with bats. A car is deliberately driven into someone. A shaving scene results in a cut, bloody face. Character's mouth is slit open; another's eyes are cut out (off camera). Characters are tied up and gagged. A hammer is smashed into someone's knee. Flashback shows a child falling out of a tree house and ending up unconscious. Knife held to character's throat. Someone covered in blood suddenly appears while a character is hallucinating. Spoiler alert: Mass death by suicide in which one character slits their wrists in a bath, one hangs to death, and another takes an overdose.

Sex

Kissing. Character imitates having sex with another character and expresses her pleasure vocally. Character is briefly seen in bra. Character is seen naked in a shower, with bare buttocks. In one scene, a character performs a dominatrix role in exchange for not paying a train fare. Three characters share a bath; no graphic nudity.

Language

Regular use of "f--k," "f--king," "s--t," "a--hole," and "bitch." In one scene, a character refers to another as a "psycho bitch."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Two of the main characters both deal and take drugs. Drugs and drug paraphernalia are regularly shown. Characters are shown high; often, their drug taking results in bad hallucinogenic trips. A character refers to her medication for an unspecified mental illness. Smoking.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Braid is a psychological horror movie that with lots of bloody violence and drug use. In the movie's most graphic scene, a character is stabbed and beaten to death, which results in blood spattering over the perpetrators. Characters have their mouths cut, are struck with bats, and are hit by cars. In a flashback scene, a child falls from a tree house and ends up unconscious. (Spoiler alert: Three characters die by suicide.) Two of the main characters, Petula (Imogen Waterhouse) and Tilda (Sarah Hay), regularly take drugs. Their motives are money-driven, so they end up dealing drugs and stealing, too. Another main character, Daphne (Madeline Brewer), has an unspecified mental illness. She lives in a fantasy world and is susceptible to violent outbursts. In one instance, she's referred to as a "psycho bitch." Two women kiss, and one mimics having sex with the other. In another scene, a character agrees to play a dominatrix role in return for not having to pay a train fare. Strong language throughout includes "f--k," "s--t," and "a--hole."

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What's the story?

In BRAID, friends Petula (Imogen Waterhouse) and Tilda (Sarah Hay) are in desperate need of money after losing the drugs they intended to sell. They come up with a plan to steal the contents of a safe belonging to their former childhood friend, Daphne (Madeline Brewer), whose mental state means she lives in a fantasy world. In order for Petula and Tilda to succeed, they must participate in the same game the three played as children. Only this time, the game is no longer so innocent.

Is it any good?

Ironically, for a movie with a central plot that revolves around not breaking the rules of a game, this horror flick is chaotic, twisting and turning from the random to the ridiculous. Braid's dizzy approach is dreamlike -- indeed, you're never quite sure what's real and what's not -- and there's a definite creepiness that puts you on edge. But, as is often the way when someone describes their own dream, it's actually not that interesting.

It's beautifully shot -- noteworthy in that it's director Mitzi Peirone's first feature film -- with the psychedelic hallucinogenic scenes being particularly mesmerizing. But the movie doesn't weave together, with one scene jumping to another. And while the violence is graphic, it never shocks, again because you're never sure what's real -- a character's wounds magically heal, for example. The three leads -- Waterhouse, Hay, and Orange is the New Black's Brewer -- capture the mood, and, while certainly not likeable, have enough spunk to stop you despising them, despite their actions. But ultimately we're left with a movie that, while atmospheric, isn't nearly as edgy as it thinks it is.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the violence in Braid. Did it seem realistic? Was it necessary to the story? Can you think of examples when violence in a movie hasn't felt necessary?

  • Discuss the drug use in the movie. Is it glamorized? Why does that matter?

  • How did you feel about the portrayal of Daphne's mental illness? Did you think it excused some of her behavior? Why might people feel the portrayal is problematic? 

  • Did you have sympathy with any of the characters? If not, why not?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love psychological horror

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