Frailty review by The Grim Ringler

Frailty

I would never in a million years have thought it but I tell you what, Bill Paxton, famous for game over man, game over from Aliensdirected a movie. And directed a pretty great movie at that.

The film begins with an FBI agent finding a strange man (Matthew McConaughey) waiting for him in his office with a story about how his brother is the man wanted for the Gods Hand killings which had been recently plaguing the FBI. Curious to find out what this stranger knows, the agent (Powers Boothe) listens intently to the story this man has to tell. The man then proceeds to tell the story about how when he was kid his father (Bill Paxton) one day believed an angel had contacted him one night and had told him that he and his sons, of which there are two, were to slay demons for God. That God would send them a list and that they would hunt down these people, these demons, and destroy them before they could do any more damage. The youngest son is happy to hear of the new duty the family has but it is the older boy (who our narrator has claimed to be) that sees the inherent wrong in what his father is proposing to do, and when his father first brings home the weapons, and then the list that are to be used to slay these demons, it is suddenly clear that he intends to go through with the killings and the son has to stop him. The boy first tries to reason with his father but every argument he uses is turned away and when the first victim is killed by his father, there is no choice but to do something drastic to stop his father from killing again under the delusion that an angel has willed him to. And as the story gets deeper and deeper the FBI agent asks for more evidence that the mans (Fenton is his name) brother is really the killer he claims to be and both men head to the burial place for all the bodies, the secret of who the Gods Hand killer is deepens and the long, dark shadow of the strangers father begins to weigh heavy on what secrets the stranger is still hiding.

This is a horror film. Whatever anyone else may say about it, it is a horror film, and being such, its a very good one. Done with a heavy leaning towards the gothic, this is the kind of horror film people insist doesnt get made anymore. It is smart, well acted, well written, and has a plot that is both interesting and horrifying. And having seen it two times now, the secrets in the movie are not lessened in the least but are deepened now that you can analyze the film and see what everything means. Paxton had the smarts to hire some great people to work on and behind the screen and it shows in the lighting and pacing of the film, which is wonderful. The film has an eerie sense of dread that only gets deeper as we learn more, and is a rare homage to the older, more subtle horror films of earlier years that really works. Its obvious that Paxton understands and appreciates the classic horror films and meant to make a film like the ones he admired.

The DVD has some pretty good extras that add to the value of buying it, even if you havent seen it and want it just to have it. The commentaries are interesting, and its neat to hear where Paxton was coming from as he was making this, his first feature. The featurette is a bit better than the usual puff piece but its on that level. The deleted scenes are interesting but there are not great revelations to be found there. And with the trailers, and some storyboard art, you get a decent package if you buy Frailty.

I highly recommend Frailtyand wish more filmmakers had the love of the horror genre to make honest, interesting, smart horror films. Frailty proves you dont need a huge cast, a lot of gore, or a huge budget to make a good horror film. And I really hope this is only the beginning of what Paxton has to offer us in this genre.

c


8 out of 10 Jackasses

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