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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thriller in every sense of the word
'Frailty' didn't do much at the UK box office on it's release - maybe because it was up against M. Night Shyamalan's much-anticipated (and slightly over-rated) 'Signs'. A bit of a shame as this is an excellent and gripping thriller from start to finish. It deals with the FBI's search for a serial killer known as 'God's Hand'. When Fenton Meeks (McConaughey) walks into the...
Published on 6 April 2003 by Mick E

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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Gods and monsters
Bill Paxton makes his directoral debut and also features in Frailty as the deluded(?) father of two boys who believes he and his young sons have been chosen by God to slay demons that exist in their midst (a la the television series Supernatural)
it is a very safe thriller (not horror in my estimations) in so far as it plays out in a quite understated formulaic way...
Published on 22 Dec. 2010 by Persona Synthetic


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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thriller in every sense of the word, 6 April 2003
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This review is from: Frailty [DVD] (DVD)
'Frailty' didn't do much at the UK box office on it's release - maybe because it was up against M. Night Shyamalan's much-anticipated (and slightly over-rated) 'Signs'. A bit of a shame as this is an excellent and gripping thriller from start to finish. It deals with the FBI's search for a serial killer known as 'God's Hand'. When Fenton Meeks (McConaughey) walks into the FBI's offices claiming he knows the identity of the killer his claims are initially met with scepticism. He relates the story of his motherless family's transformation from an everyday happy unit into one of serial murder. This change is caused when Fenton and his brother Adam are awoken during the night by their father (Paxton) who claims he has been given a mission from God. The mission is to kill demons who are masquerading as human beings. Fenton believes his father has gone raving mad but Adam believes him and a trail of death ensues.

'Frailty' is Bill Paxton's directorial debut and I look forward to seeing what he does next as this is a cracking film that nearly always keeps you guessing. The acting is mostly top-notch with Paxton delivering a fairly low-key performance as the father and McConaughey goes into sombre mode as Fenton. It is also worth noting that the child performances are very good too. There are one or two formulaic moments when certain plot elements and some of the characterisation seem a little obvious but on the whole it all builds up really well toward the final twist. I enjoyed 'Frailty' a lot more than 'Signs' and it seems baffling to me how it didn't do a lot better at the cinema. Still, that's what a bit of hype can do I suppose.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A CHILLING MASTERPIECE OF GOTHIC HORROR..., 14 Mar. 2005
By 
Lawyeraau (Balmoral Castle) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Frailty [DVD] (DVD)
This has got to be one of the best films that I have ever seen in this genre. It is a veritable masterpiece, delivering a great storyline, an amazing directorial debut by Bill Paxton, and excellent performances by the entire cast. What could be better?
The film revolves around the happy and loving Meeks family, which consists of a Texas widower (Bill Paxton) and his two boys, Fenton and Adam. All is well until late one night, when this pleasant, mild-mannered father claims to have received a visitation from an angel with a very special message for him from God. It seems that demons are among us, disguised as human beings. It appears that Dad, as well as his boys, are being given a very special mission. They are to destroy these demons. God will supply the weapons and the names of those who are to be destroyed. Dad will be able to ensure that he is destroying a demon simply by laying his hands upon the purported demon. Therein lies the tale, and it is a positively chilling one.
This living nightmare is recalled in flashback by one of the now grown boys (Mathew McConaughey) to FBI Agent Wesley Doyle (Powers Boothe), who is investigating a series of killings referred to as the "God's Hand" murders. He recounts what life was like for the Meeks family after dear old Dad got his divine calling and woke them up one night from a sound sleep to tell them of his new found mission. The boys are sworn to secrecy and are called upon to assist with this divine calling. While the younger boy, Adam, gets with the program, the older son, Fenton, is clearly disturbed by what he sees as the psychotic transformation of his formerly benign father. He is only hoping that things will blow over, and Dad will return to normal. Unfortunately, things will never again be the same.
Bill Paxton's directorial debut may best be described as stunningly self-assured. His direction is deft, yet restrained, as he is obviously someone who knows that less is more. He certainly realizes that what passes through the viewer's imagination can often be far more terrifying than any garish special effects. Consequently, this is not a film for those who look for mindless blood splatter and gore, as there is virtually none of that in this film. The camera rightly turns away at the crucial moment, leaving the viewer's imagination to work overtime.
The performances that are exacted from the cast are uniformly terrific, but there are two that merit special note. Bill Paxton is simply astounding, giving a bravura performance that is complex and compelling. The viewer believes all along that he is truly a loving father, even when he is seemingly at his most psychotic and on his divine mission destroying demons. Matt O'Leary also gives a singular performance as young Fenton, the son who has difficulty accepting the tune that his beloved father is now singing. His is an angst filled performance that will tear at the viewer's heart.
This is truly a terrific tale of gothic horror and one that deserves to become a classic. It boasts an intelligent and clever screenplay by Brent Hanley with enough twists and turns to keep the viewer guessing until the very end. It is a screenplay that has many layers of complexity. The question for the viewer is whether or not Dad was simply a delusional psychotic killer or truly acting upon a divine mission. This may not be as easy to answer as one may think.
All in all, this is a superlative film that is worthy of being in one's personal collection. Bravo!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Twist On A Serial Killer, 24 Nov. 2006
This review is from: Frailty [DVD] (DVD)
Frailty is the story of a closely knit single-parent family that becomes divided when Dad wakes up his sons to tell them he's had a vision. In it, an angel has explained to him that he is a Demon-slayer; and given him a list of names with which to begin God's Work.

The youngest child is immediately overawed by his dad's new special purpose, and toddles off to help him out; the elder of the children is at first unsure, and then scared when he sees just how literally Dad is taking his vision; and then horrified when he finds himself expected to help.

The main problem for him is what - if anything - can he do about it? Thus begins the desperate test of a young boy in alerting the authorities to Dad's behaviour in the face of the ironic question regarding who might believe his story, over the respected word of his once community-friendly father.

Frailty is an excellent film that boasts an interestingly twisted plot, building up from an average film into a disturbing and interesting film, to one which catches you by completely by surprise at least twice right towards the end.

The acting is also good, notably so from the two boys playing the sons. I was very pleasantly surprised by this film and would recommend it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Provoking and disturbing, 28 July 2006
By 
Trevor Willsmer (London, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Frailty [DVD] (DVD)
Frailty gets off to an awkward start thanks to excessive narration that tells us what we can see, but once debuting director Bill Paxton gets the confidence to use it more sparingly, his disturbing tale of a family of serial killers/demon slayers becomes much more impressive. What keeps it from descending into pure schlock is that the conflict derives from the fact that this family loves each other and the elder son's dilemma is his powerlessness at stopping his father in his God-given task. What raises it way beyond the family-that-slays-together-stays-together norm is a series of daring last-act plot twists that for once actually turn the film into something much more provoking and morally disturbing. Even the dubiousness of the set-up - would an experienced senior FBI man really accompany the grown-up boy to the scene of the crimes alone? - suddenly makes sense. Strong performances by Matt O'Leary and Matthew McConnaughey (no, seriously, he's very good for once) and a good score by Brian Tyler, one of the few interesting new composers working today, add to the quality.

Sadly, Paramount's R2 DVD comes up very short on the extras, especially compared to the R1 DVD. But it's still worth picking up for the film itself - you won't forget it in a hurry.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A breath of fresh air., 2 July 2007
By 
Paul Macdonald "mac20584" (North Wales) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Frailty [DVD] (DVD)
Bill Paxton Directs and stars as a father of two young brothers who one night is sent a message by God. He tells his children that God wants him to rid the world of several demons. The younger of the two brothers is happy to help his father, however the older brother is more sceptical, especially when he learns that these supposed 'demons' are apparantly innocent, everyday folk. That is the main theme of the film - the struggle the older brother faces; does he assist his beloved father who he suspects is losing his mind in the systematic slaughter of innocent people, or to inform the authorities about his fathers devine 'mission'.

I was pleasently surprised with this great little horror film; I caught it late one evening and was even a little chilled by it, an effect that more famous horror movies haven't had over me. When I first discoverd the bulk of this film would concern children, I was wary. Often, child stars can be somewhat awkward to watch, and more than a little irritating, however the children in this film did a marvellous job, their performances where convincing, and they genuinelly did a terrific job, Paxton himself also gives a great performance, his character beautifully drawn. He seems such a lovable and gentle guy, and he obviously thinks he is doing good, and yet we see him carring out the most awful atorcities. We both like this character and deeply fear him. It is a really very good piece of characterisation, and the film should be commended for creating interesting, layered characters - something the Saws, Hostels and the other endless slasher films of this genre lack.

If you are expecting a grewsome gorefest, then you will be disappointed, most of the dismemberment occours off screen, and we are left to imagine the grotesque scene from the looks on the childrens faces as they see the blow from the axe - a wise decision, as these expressions of disgust are quite integral to the story and character development.

The final act of the film is a series of plot twists, which turn the story on its head, and as a result, we are left with a far more complex film than the one we started out with, and agian, we must commend this film on it's genuinely interesting and thought-provoking plot, something too many other horror films are without.

Unfortunately, the film is rather prdictable in some areas, which partially robs it's 'surprise' factor, however, plenty of the plot twists are totally unexpected.

This is a deeply entertaing horror film, one of its greatest assets being its originality. This is a quality rather difficult to come by these days, especially horror films, and this effort should be commended on those grounds. This, coupled with a great last act, acting, plot makes one of the better horror films I've seen for a while. Recommended.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Paxton excels at his first attempt, 19 May 2003
This review is from: Frailty [DVD] (DVD)
I first saw this film by accident, picking up the wrong video in the store, however subsequently i was very glad i did. Paxton eloquently explores how, under the influence of something that he perceives as completely true, one man can follow his beliefs to any end. however, just as the film seems to be progressing to a logical conclusion and being a horror film that focuses largely on the psychological impact of spiritual experiences, he introduces a whole new dimension to the film. this could appear as if the film takes a completely new tack and has decided, as many before it have unsuccessfully attempted, to deal with multiple issues by adding another theme onto the end. this is not the case because as the film is explained, in the same vein as the "Usual Suspects", it becomes apparent that everything that has gone before has a purpose, even the most seemingly insignificant details, and that this is not just a discussion about fanaticism.
also, unlike many films in Hollywood, there is little desire to fill the script with gratuitous swearing, or needless violence. true there are a couple of instances of swearing but it is not littered in the script like many blockbusters, and the violence is made horrific by being left to the imagination, with the use of sound conveying the act of murder.
For a directorial debut this is a fantastic film, with Matthew McConaughey giving his best performance to date. one of those films that when you rewatch it it becomes better as you pick out more of the subtle hints and touches Paxton leaves in to interest the audience.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent flashback thriller!, 10 Nov. 2014
By 
Amazon Customer (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Frailty [DVD] (DVD)
Bill Paxton stars in one of his most sinister roles to date in 'Frailty', a genuinely suspenseful and gripping movie.

Fenton Meeks (Matthew McConaughey), comes forward to reveal that his younger brother may be the serial killer the FBI are looking for. The film relies very heavily on the use of flashbacks to illustrate Meeks' revelations of his bizarre childhood with a father (Bill Paxton) who believed that God had sent him on a message to ''destroy'' the 'demons' who were inhabiting human bodies. Fenton saw his father's actions as evil, whereas his brother considered him a hero.

The flashbacks are well acted, and I found them compulsive viewing. The twists occur towards the end, but the rest of the movie will hold your interest up until the last twenty minutes, when revelations take an unexpected turn. Bill Paxton and Matthew McConaughey are both superb in their roles, but the kids, who play the two brothers when they were young, also turn out good performances.

Highly recommended!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A MUST SEE!!, 11 July 2013
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This review is from: Frailty [DVD] (DVD)
This is an absolute must see for fans of psychological horror movies and has some great little twists and turns,but I would say it's best to just watch it without reading all the reviews and their spoilers.10/10
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Flawed, but still well worth seeing, 13 Aug. 2007
By 
C. O. DeRiemer (San Antonio, Texas, USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Frailty [DVD] (DVD)
I think Frailty is disturbing and melancholy; not so much creepy as unsettling. The first four fifths of the movie had me on edge and involved. Matt O'Leary and Jeremy Sumpter who played the young boys are excellent, and so is Bill Paxton, who loved his sons and was committed to following God's message to capture and kill demons. The heart of the story isn't the horror of Mr. Meik's axe-wielding justice, but the horror of what his obsession does to his sons. Matthew McConaughey surprised me as one of the sons, now grown. There is no charm about him, just an uneasy matter-of-factness. He is very good. And for a movie which many might consider a horror film, there is almost no gore. Even the axe murders take place off camera. Throughout the movie, which is told almost all in flashback, the power of the story derives from the relationship between the two sons, who are about 10 and 8, and their widowed father. It's this dynamic which, I think, makes the movie so engrossing and unsettling.

But then there is the last 20 minutes or so of the movie, when all the twists begin to happen, all the surprises flash at you, the irony of the truth happens. For me, it's just too much; it becomes unsatisfying because too many pieces, some without any preparation, are slammed into place. The basic twist, however, involving McConaughey is well set up and plays fair with the audience. Even though I think just too many gears come into motion at the end, the movie remains a well-crafted piece of work, and worth seeing.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars All Is Seldom What It Seems, 22 Feb. 2011
By 
Charles Vasey (London, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Frailty [DVD] (DVD)
This is a first rate thriller in the film noir style, told, mostly, as a long series of flashbacks. Half the fun is the twists, and I do not want to even hint at these; but they are worthy of a good Agatha Christie. The film is particularly effective in delivering its sucker punch, those who get there first may need to explain it to their friends.
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Frailty [DVD]
Frailty [DVD] by Bill Paxton (DVD - 2003)
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