Frailty - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Frailty Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ June 3, 2007
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.
Super Reviewer
June 14, 2007
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.
Super Reviewer
January 22, 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.
Super Reviewer
May 26, 2010
One of the best thrillers I've seen in awhile. Plenty of suspense and a thought-provoking story that doesn't have clear cut answers to everything it presents. Bill Paxton is equal parts endearing and genuinely creepy in the father role and the kids playing his sons do a good job. Matthew McConaughey doesn't really do much other than narrate the flashbacks that 3/4 of the movie consist of in "The Usual Suspects" fashion. Unlike that movie though, I was invested in the characters enough to care what was going on. The twist at the end is kind of predictable, but everything before it was so good that I didn't even care much. Frailty has great atmosphere, chilling performances, and a story that will stick with you. Can't ask for much more than that out of a psychological thriller.
Super Reviewer
March 17, 2010
Extremely Hitchcockian, but on the predictable side.
Super Reviewer
½ July 8, 2009
I was lucky enough to be up at 3am and flipping through channels on the T.V. when I found this movie. Another great thriller that keeps your attention from start to finish.
Frailty is about a man (Matthew McConauhey) who goes to the FBI to tell an agent his family's story of how his very religious father's visions of seeing God and angels lead him to killing people who he believed where demons. It's also about a father and his relationship between his two sons.
A twisted movie with a lot of twists in it. I was pleasantly surprised by the change of the course the movie takes at the end. What a twist that was. I really didn't have high hopes for this movie, but it ended up being one of the best thrillers I have ever seen. Good story line, great actors, nice Directing, little bit of gore, (but nothing to heavy) and disturbing in so many ways. The ending was perfect. Bill Paxton doesn't only star as the father in this great thriller but he also directs it. What a great job by him.
Really enjoyed this movie and those of you who like a good thriller will definitely like this movie.
Super Reviewer
July 2, 2007
Frailty is one of those films that you watch and can't forget easily. It's very atmospheric, well-performed, well-directed and a overall delivers a creepy psychological thriller.

Frailty is the story of a close family, when one day, the father (played in an exceptional performance from Bill Paxton) claims he has seen a vision from God, who has sent him on a 'mission' to kill 'demons'. The demons, according to the father, disguise themselves like regular people, but only he knows who they are.

The great thing about Frailty is it manages to go one step ahead to your typical film of this genre. Recently, there seems to have been a lot of psychological horror or thriller films that fall just below average, and are easily forgettable. However, Frailty somehow manages to be better than that, and become a film that sticks out from the usual one's of its type. For one thing, it is very thought-provoking, giving you the opportunity to watch a satisifying, not totally open-ended film, but instead a partly solved ambiguous mystery.

The other thing that adds to the atmospheric tension of Frailty is the brilliant and highly intelligent narrative. At the beginning of the film, we are led to trust the father, just as the children do, but during the scene where he tells them of his 'vision', we become sceptical almost of his sanity, just as Fenton is. Thus, as the narrative progresses, it seems you can watch the film on different levels as you trust your own judgements.

Bill Paxton provides a solid performance as good as his directing, playing a twisted man, yet still winning the trust of his youngest son. The two child performances are exceptional also, as is McConaughey. They leave us with the possibility that this event could happen in any town, and in my opinion, that is what makes the film so creepy.

I watched this film when it was released years ago and I haven't forgotten it. After watching the DVD recently, I spotted new things that I didn't last time, and watched it on a completely different level. I think that's a sign of a good film, especially of this genre. Frailty is a disturbing and completely unforgettable film, one of the best films I have seen in its genre.
Super Reviewer
March 22, 2006
Who knew Bill Paxton would be such a master of horror? This movie creeps up on you and snaps without warning. The child actors are really talented and the movie is overall really eerie. This is a totally new dimension in gothic horror.
Super Reviewer
½ February 13, 2007
One of my favourite films and one of the best film twists ever.

A sinister tale, well written and put together well, I never tire from watching this and never fail to be impressed.

To anyone who hasn't watched this film yet, you really should.
Super Reviewer
February 2, 2008
"So Fucked Up" highlight: brother locked in self-made prison
Super Reviewer
December 2, 2007
It's nice to see Matthew McConaughey play the character in this film.
Super Reviewer
October 18, 2007
I liked it. I like the otis axe, anyway. The idea of killing sinners is really stupid though, especially doing it for God. i think he knows how on his own, and he'd rather they reformed.
Super Reviewer
½ August 21, 2007
A solid thriller. I had mixed feelings at the end of it, but after pondering the whole story and the how well the cast did with the script, its worth a look. Although the dialogue between the father and sons seems like something torn out of a 50's sitcom at times, in the end Paxton just did a heck of a job creating the part of the father who was just doing God's will in his eyes.
Super Reviewer
January 23, 2007
A movie that starts out strong, gets stronger and then collapses on itself at the end, Frailty is a well-done psychological horror that wanted to be more clever than it really needed to. It's like a more subtle American version of High Tension in that regard - not content to rest with a perfectly satisfying narrative, the creators felt it necessary to create a twist ending.

Unlike High Tension, I can kind of appreciate the use of this ending. It really didn't gel with the rest of the movie's tone, however, which was my main problem with it. The movie spends well over an hour demonizing (no pun intended) religion and then all of a sudden expects us to sympathize with its agenda? Call me crazy, but this didn't quite work out for me.

To divulge any more about why the ending didn't resonate quite right would spoil the film, but I found myself ultimately a little disappointed. It's too bad, because Frailty is full of talent. Directed very strongly by Bill Paxton, and written with restraint and ability, the movie is technically quite sound. The performances are great, except for consistently underwhelming McConaughey - though this is the best role he's ever taken he looked dead-eyed through it and completely failed to rise to the occasion. It's a shame that he got top billing over the talented young Matt O'Leary, but such is Hollywood, right?
Super Reviewer
January 5, 2007
A dark and interesting movie that I think everyone should watch. It's not what you think it is.
Super Reviewer
June 4, 2006
Bill Paxton serves up a fabulous directorial debut, and also a heart warming performance as the loving,caring but mentally unstable father. The film deals with religion in an up-front manner, questioning beliefs and what is right. Is Paxton really crazy, or is God actually sending him these messages. A few questions that are hard to answer in these doubting times. The film is well shot, and keeps on-screen violence to a minimum. As with all great horrors these days it has a twist, and although the first one shall be obvious to any film fan, a couple of extra twists are thrown in to really screw with the audiences perception of what they have just seen. The great thing about this film is how it plays with your emotions. There is no doubt Paxton is a fantastic father and loves his two young boys, but the way in which he attempts to get his sons involved in his murders is also very eerie and disturbing. Some of the elements are typical horror, and will be familiar with fans of the genre, but it is the differences and the "balls" this film has by going where other films dare not that rise it above Hollywood slasher trash.
Super Reviewer
½ April 19, 2012
What a suspenseful horror movie that leaves you wondering if the possibility of a sequel could ever come RUIN it! LOL! A young man comes into the FBI 's Headquarters to tell a story of what he knows of : "The God's Hand Killer". As Fenton Meiks (Matthew Mc Conaughey) unravels his tale to Agent Doyle (Powers Boothe) alot of surprises pops up out of what he tells to the FBI Agent. Will the Agent be able to catch the killer based up the story that the young man brings to him? See this edge of your seat is intense!
Ryan M
Super Reviewer
½ February 25, 2011
**** out of ****

A strange and ominous man (Matthew McConaughey) is seated in an FBI office. He introduces himself as Fenton Meiks; the agent whose office he has entered goes by the name of Doyle (Powers Booth). The later has no idea what the former wants. He finds this oddball searching through his stuff when he finally arrives to the office after being called down to meet with Mr. Meiks. The agent is currently investigating a murder case centering on the infamous "God's Hand Killer" of Dallas, Texas. It is highly suggested and eventually confirmed that Fenton Meiks knows his share about the murders committed by this notorious local serial killer.

I suppose it all begins back in Fenton's childhood days; most of which he shared with only his Dad (Bill Paxton) and his younger brother Adam. The father of the two boys works as an auto-mechanic by trade; although at home, his life is devoted to but only two things, and that is his children and God. One night, however, Dad takes the second thing to dangerous and almost surreal new extremes; he comes to the boys' bedroom at night and explains to them that he has received a vision from God.

Dad now believes that he and the kids were sent to earth to slay the demons that freely roam it; disguised by their deceptive exteriors. The father claims to have been sent a special list of the demons that the family must collectively hunt, and so he keeps that close by at all times. He claims that to kill the demons, they must first receive the heaven-sent weapons; one of which is an axe so important that it even gets its own credit: Otis. With Otis in hand, the demon killing spree begins; with Dad getting the first taste of the madness and eventually letting his children in on all the fun. Fenton would rather not explore such dark things; while his younger kin is more willing to follow his dad's beliefs and values. In no time at all, the father has become the God's Hand Killer, in hopes that his sons shall someday take the name for themselves and continue to slay those nasty servants of Satan.

This is precisely the story that Fenton tells the Agent throughout the film. He earns the trust of the man who is of higher power - the Agent - and eventually he leads him to the spot where the Meiks family stared their faith straight in the face. This place of danger and bewilderment comes in the form of a rose garden; it is a location of traumatic childhood memories and silent cries from beyond the grave. A lot happens here whether we're seeing things through the eyes of children (in flash-back form) or in real-time as it's happening in the plot.

I half-expected the film to turn into another generic slasher picture when that trusty bastardization (Otis) reared its ugly (and sharp) ends. An axe is always a sign of danger in a horror movie; someone's got to use it, right? Most of the time, yes, this is the case.

However, my expectations of that turning point where very wrong. "Frailty" turned out to be anything but a familiar and boring excess in both violence and unsympathetic stupidity. In fact, it is a film of great sympathy; and perhaps even great horror. It's being marketed as a film within the boundaries of the horror genre, although it's one of those rare (and great) movies that takes it upon itself to mess with so many conventions that it almost transcends any classification, genre-wise. Paxton's film could be a thriller - because it is thrilling - and it could also be a horror film - because it depicts humane horror with an agenda. But deep down, there's this desire to be a drama; and among other things, I think this is where the film is most successful.

We identify with the childish sensibilities of the brothers; so we understand the pain that they must endure and the change that they are experiencing. I think they both fear their father - who is simply going mad in the head after being deluded by his religious beliefs - although only one out of the two is able to speak up for himself and voice his personal opinions. So there's some good character development that allows us to really connect with the central protagonists. And then there is the father - who is nothing less than a modern example of a great "Bad Dad" in the movies -. He repeatedly manipulates his sons out of his delusion; which is the only thing leading up to the assumption that he is the antagonist of this story. Yet, I feel "Frailty" is such a well-done and skillfully written film; it inspires sympathy for both sides and while we never like the father due to the things he says and does, we never quite hate him either, because we understand where his actions are coming from; his shattered mind.

Horror movies are seldom thought-provoking; just as thrillers are rarely great anymore. Here's a film that successfully makes a winner of itself in all genres that it covers: from horror to thrillers to, yes, even drama. It tells a sad, tragic, traumatic story of religion and how it can delude unassuming victims of psychological torment to committing acts of violence. This theme would have lost its relevance and its power if Paxton had intended to show much of the violence on-screen; but he's more interested in tension and the disturbing things which we cannot see. He wants us to hear, to feel, and to sense; he does so like a true master. "Frailty" is a thriller with emotions unlike any I have ever seen; and a horror film that depicts the horror like a true genre picture should be. It is often silent, discreet, and oh so very smart. I'd say it's about first-rate in every department.
Super Reviewer
½ September 13, 2011
Loved it! A very eerie movie with an outstanding story. I was hooked on every second of the movie, and thought the acting was done well, too.
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