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Frailty (2002)



Average Rating: 6.8/10
Reviews Counted: 147
Fresh: 107 | Rotten: 40

Creepy and disturbing, Frailty is well-crafted, low-key horror.


Average Rating: 6.6/10
Critic Reviews: 37
Fresh: 27 | Rotten: 10

Creepy and disturbing, Frailty is well-crafted, low-key horror.



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Average Rating: 3.5/5
User Ratings: 51,797

My Rating

Movie Info

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


Mystery & Suspense, Horror

Brent Hanley

Sep 17, 2002


Lions Gate Films - Official Site External Icon

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July 20, 2011:
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All Critics (148) | Top Critics (37) | Fresh (107) | Rotten (40) | DVD (36)

Paxton steals the show. And O'Leary more than holds his own again here. Too bad it's in a movie that fails to live up to its potential.

July 30, 2013 Full Review Source: Associated Press
Associated Press
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A resoundingly old-fashioned and well crafted study of evil infecting an American family, "Frailty" moves from strength to strength on its deceptive narrative course.

November 21, 2008 Full Review Source: Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Paxton's first movie as director is better than you might expect. It has a first rate cast, and Bill Butler's camerawork and some deft editing help to crank up the tension.

January 26, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

With an admirably dark first script by Brent Hanley, Paxton, making his directorial feature debut, does strong, measured work.

September 16, 2002 Full Review Source: L.A. Weekly
L.A. Weekly
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Paxton wins quiet victories here as both star and helmer.

July 20, 2002 Full Review Source: Chicago Tribune
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic IconTop Critic

I love the way that it took chances and really asks you to take these great leaps of faith and pays off.

April 15, 2002 Full Review Source: Ebert & Roeper
Ebert & Roeper
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Frailty is disturbing, all right, but then so is sticking needles in your eyes. And I wouldn't recommend either.

February 8, 2014 Full Review Source: Georgia Straight

...a solid thriller from a promising first-time director.

December 18, 2011 Full Review Source: Reel Film Reviews
Reel Film Reviews

Violent and ultimately uneven and unsatisfying.

December 24, 2010 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media | Comment (1)
Common Sense Media

Frailty marks a fine directorial debut for Bill Paxton. He judges the material expertly and brings it to the boil effectively ...

October 18, 2008 Full Review Source: Urban Cinefile
Urban Cinefile

Bill Paxton, longtime bit-player and significantly underrated character actor, makes his directorial debut with Frailty, a joyless tale of one family's psychotic cycle of violence.

July 2, 2008 Full Review Source: IGN Movies | Comments (2)
IGN Movies

The film's just about perfect.

June 17, 2008 Full Review Source: ESplatter

Feels like Sling Blade rewritten at a crawl by Stephen King.

February 13, 2008 Full Review Source: | Comment (1)

An overpraised thriller that's really as superficial as a bruise.

August 5, 2007 Full Review Source: Bangor Daily News (Maine)
Bangor Daily News (Maine)

The intricate plotting . . . reveals everything and yet, using the audiences preconceived notions, makes each fact a surprise and each fiction a shock.

April 5, 2003 Full Review Source: Killer Movie Reviews
Killer Movie Reviews

So grim, dim, and formulaic, that there is no room for any kind of visceral connection or genuine suspense.

March 19, 2003 Full Review Source: | Comment (1)

Paxton not only directs but acts, so there was a double threat. But he does both with so much commitment that the film is a revelation.

March 7, 2003 Full Review Source: Sydney Morning Herald
Sydney Morning Herald

This looks - and chills - like the start of a very promising new career for Paxton.

March 4, 2003 Full Review Source: RTE Interactive (Dublin, Ireland)

Some good ideas went into the meat grinder, but what came out was largely uninteresting absurdist mush.

January 25, 2003 Full Review

'Frailty" starts out like a typical Bible killer story, but it turns out to be significantly different (and better) than most films with this theme.

January 5, 2003 Full Review Source: Laramie Movie Scope
Laramie Movie Scope

A hot-acid concoction of thrills, spills, trepidation, and one of the most novel stories of recent times.

December 8, 2002

This is one of the outstanding thrillers of recent years.

November 10, 2002 Full Review Source: Daily Mail [UK]
Daily Mail [UK]

Actor Bill Paxton's directorial debut is a stark horror film full of surprises -- and genuine scares.

November 7, 2002 Full Review Source: Netflix

Audience Reviews for Frailty

A man walks into the offices of the FBI and declares that he knows the identity of a high profile serial killer, and sets about convincing the sceptical agent in charge by recounting the events of his life. Until Matthew McConaghey's recent catharsis as to the quality of the projects he becomes involved with, his career was littered with turds but this is far from the worst offender. It's a supernatural thriller in which the childhood victim of a murderous religious zealot tells of how the life of his younger brother and he were turned upside down by their father's "holy mission" which sets the scene for an intriguing story. McConaghey makes a suitably intense and enigmatic lead and his verbal sparring with disbelieving Powers Boothe works well. Unfortunately Bill Paxton's inexperience behind the lens means the pacing is long-winded rather than atmospheric and there are a few instances where the film looks plain amateurish. But the biggest problem is its reliance on the proverbial and extremely obvious "twist ending" which totally undermines what could've been a powerful statement on how blind faith could cause a good man to commit evil deeds, instead making for a hokey X-File. Still, it's far from Matthew's worst moment and is worth a look if you're looking for an off-beat thriller with a supernatural flavour.
June 7, 2014
xGary Xx

Super Reviewer

October 17, 2013
Directors Cat
Directors Cat

Super Reviewer

Sloppy B-movie trying to pass as sophisticated horror. Even though its script is seriously bad and repetitive, Frailty does manage to hold your attention. Actor/director Bill Paxton offers a lackluster performance, but Matt O'Leary, Jeremy Sumpter and Matthew McConaughey make up for that. The film also features some outstanding camerawork and editing, but ultimately fails due to awful writing.
March 2, 2011
Frailty is one of those Horror greats that no one really knows about or tries to ignore. What I mean by that is the film is a film that horror fans seem to avoid. However when they do finally get a hold of this superior horror film, they are blown away. I was one of those people as well. Frailty tells the story of the God's Hand killer, a serial killer who kills on behalf of god. The killer kills "demons" and encourages his young sons to do the same. Frailty is a nightmare (in a good way). The reason that people seem to be turned off by not watching this film is because Bill Paxton directed this film. I can assure you that this film is one of the best Horror films of the decade. The film combines Suspense, Mystery and intrigue into one terrific horror film. Frailty is a well accomplished film that will definitely surprise horror fans who still haven't seen it. Frailty is one of the most original and disturbing horror films I have ever seen. Bill Paxton who also directs, gives the best performance of his career, and the film very creepy. Not since Silence Of The Lambs has a film had such menacing power over it's viewer the film has a great cast and is a well written film with a solid story. If you have doubts that Frailty may be a bad film, don't. The film will exceed your expectations and offer some terrific, disturbing scares. Bill Paxton may be a so-so actor, but as director, he crafts something truly terrifying, and his acting here is superb.
January 22, 2011
Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski

Super Reviewer

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