Tuesday, October 21, 2008

31 Days Of Horror. Day #11: Frailty




When Jesus Camp came out the trendy ad line was “ It’s the scariest horror film of the year.” But if you really want some horror in the fundamentalist vein, then check out this little doozy; a film guaranteed to have you looking sideways at those nice Baptist’s across the street for a month.

Frailty follows the story of two little boys. Their mother’s dead but they have a kind and loving father, and as the movie opens their biggest concern is whether to go see Big Trouble In Little China or The Warriors over at the Bijou that weekend. Then suddenly out of the blue their father wakes them up in the middle of the night to tell them that God has come to him in a vision and given him a list of demons. The end of days is coming at it’s his duty to kill them before the war begins. Only problem is the demons look and act just like real people. Daddy’s never been crazy before. What do you do?

Frailty is powered by the one two punch of Bill Paxton's convincing lead performance, and his stylish yet subtle direction (who knew). The way he plays his character is a wonder, never taking the easy way out, showing moments of compassion and doubt in creating a very human monster, one who never for a moment considers he's doing wrong. Also worth noting, this is probably the last film before Matthew McConaughy just gave right the fuck up on the whole "acting" thing and started doing 500 crunches a day.

Frailty doesn’t lay on the gore and guts, but it is one of the most disturbing films I’ve ever seen. It gets inside your head and does some damage there. The mental thumbscrews keep twisting as you are put directly in the place of these two boys. It does its job with a Hitchcockian level of skill. And in a time when Religious fanatism (I’m a practicing Catholic so no pissed of emails please) seems like it's about to swallow up all remnants of rationality, it’s truly frightening.

1 comment:

Brandon said...

I'd really like to rewatch this movie. I saw it years ago before I became an atheist and really started noticing things that now bother me about religion (I sort of went out of my way to NOT notice them or justify them).

I'm sure I'd see this film in a very different way now.

I also like how they sort of leave it open to interpretation. Discussing what your friends and family really think happened can be as disturbing as the movie itself.