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Frailty (2002)

Cast: Bill Paxton, Bill Paxton, Matthew McConaughey, more...
Director: Bill Paxton, Bill Paxton
    see all cast/crew...
Studio: Lions Gate
Running Time: 99 min.
Languages: English
Subtitles: English, Spanish
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Actor Bill Paxton made his directorial debut with Frailty. The bulk of the story is told through flashbacks, as a mysterious man (Matthew McConaughey) tells a terrible tale to an FBI agent (Powers Boothe) investigating the "God's Hand" serial killer case. The man grew up in a small town in Texas, where he and his brother lived a bucolic life with their kindhearted widower father (Paxton). One night, the father awakens the two boys, Fenton (Matthew O'Leary) and Adam (Jeremy Sumpter), and tells them he's had a vision, and God has chosen him and his sons to help Him slay demons who walk the earth in human form. He tells the boys they can never tell anyone about this task. Before long, he comes home from work with a list of names that he claims an angel has given to him. He then begins abducting people, bringing them home, one by one, and having the boys watch while he lays his hands on them. After having proven, to his mind, that they are demons and not human, he chops them up with an axe while the boys look on. Young Adam is eager to participate, seeing his family as "kind of like superheroes," while the older Fenton is distraught, believing that his father has lost his mind. He contemplates running away, but is reluctant to leave his little brother behind. Eventually, he goes to the authorities, which results in disaster. As he tells the story, McConaughey takes Boothe out to the public rose garden near his old home, where he claims his brother, the "God's Hand" killer, buried the bodies. Paxton dramatizes the mayhem while leaving almost all of the gore offscreen, and Brent Hanley's script leaves the true motives of several characters unclear until the very end. ~ Josh Ralske, All Movie Guide

You might also enjoy:
A Simple Plan
Paxton teamed up with Sam Raimi for this icy thriller

Night of the Hunter
If you want God and demons, good vs. evil, this unforgettable classic tops 'em all

GreenCine Member Reviews

Marred by smugness by Texan99 September 4, 2010 - 12:51 PM PDT
An otherwise ideal widowed father inexplicably begins to torment his two young sons with delusions about the need to hunt down and destroy demons who look like people. I didn't care for this movie, though it's a genre (supernatural thriller) that I usually like. The cast was good, but the story and especially the screenplay left me cold. It was as if the director were constantly running subtitles explaining that he intends to challenge us. The "challenging" material was smug and one-dimensional. Nor did the thriller quite work as a suspenseful thriller, in terms of either cleverness of plot or the development of the characters' choices at critical points in the plot. In particular, I found Bill Paxton's sudden embrace of a nutso anti-demonic program unpersuasive.

Oh, My God by talltale August 29, 2006 - 4:56 PM PDT
2 out of 4 members found this review helpful
FRAILTY is spooky and chilling--but for completely different reasons than you might expect from a "serial killer" film. While the acting and direction are superior (why not, considering the people involved?), it's the concept and writing that really push this one over the top.

As expertly made as this movie is, the REALLY chilling part comes when you think about it afterwards. I believe that, intentionally or not, FRAILTY is a Fundamentalist Christian's wet dream. Born-again right-wingers will go bananas for it, while the rest of us movie-lovers will be sitting back in shocked stupor, admiring the film--yes--but shouting no, No, NO! in our hearts and minds. I can't say more without spoiling things, but consider the movie's locale and theme, and go from there. Have fun--if that's the right word....

Genuinely Good Film by JMVerville December 8, 2004 - 7:33 AM PST
2 out of 3 members found this review helpful
The film is very complete in what it is, keeping one continuously interested with the flashbacks to childhood and growing up with such a bizarre father, and interspersing it with the tails of serial murder, one simply cannot go wrong. The very plot in itself, the very story and essence of the film, is entertaining. It is the sort of story that the director (Bill Paxton) could do so much with, and in this case, he really did do a lot with it.

From beginning to end you are kept anticipating more and more about what is happening and where the film is going, and the creativity that is behind this story is first class. I felt as if this film was exquisitely done from start to finish, and one of those rare gems that seemed to be without any boring lulls -- the action flowing neatly, quickly, and tightly from one scene to the next.

It demonstrates just how far people can go: so as to do such horrible things to their loved ones, and to do such acts of evil, in the name of 'God' when they are disillusioned as in this case. It also is sometimes interesting in its' twists & takes on the concept of morality as a whole.

Overall, this is the sort of film that one easily overlooks, but I would recommend you to not do likewise and to check this film out -- it is very much so worth your time.

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GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 6.67)
202 Votes
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