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Frailty review
Not too bad, but could have been better

The good:

-Good acting, especially by Bill Paxton

The bad:

-Story was interesting, and yet I wanted this movie to end. Maybe you'll feel the same way


For his directorial debut, actor Bill Paxton chose Frailty by Brent Hanley, a horror movie in the true sense of the word. Frailty eschews violent blood and gore. The most violent acts occur just off screen, so the viewer can use his/her imagination to envision what is happening. Horror movies work much better this way, using people's own fear to scare themselves silly. It helps that Hanley wrote a creepy story and Paxton's presence on screen is frightening. The bulk of Frailty is a flashback. FBI Agent Wesley Doyle is the agent in charge finding the serial killer responsible for the "God's Hands" murders. Fenton literally walks into Doyle's office and says he knows who the serial killer is.

Most films that employ the use of flashback do not fare well. Frailty works because it is not immediately clear what Dad has to do with the God's Hands murders. Things start to make sense near the end of the movie, when Paxton begins tying everything together. Frailty works because of Paxton's work in front of the camera. He is positively scary as Dad, especially when he wields his menacing axe and talks about God. The copious use of religious imagery adds some credence to Dad's possible delusions. Paxton, grabbing the axe in both hands with a wily look into his eyes, sounds even more menacing when justifying his actions as holy. O'Leary's acting consists mostly of reactions to his father's actions. He cannot reconcile his love for his father with the reality of his father's insanity. Frailty's ending is also open to interpretation, giving it a sense of importance, and forcing people to look back on the film and think deeper about what they saw.

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