Februrary 8, 2013
Bill Paxton and Matthew
“I’ve got the
joy joy joy joy down in my heart.
Where? Down in my
heart! Where? Down in my heart! I’ve got
the joy joy joy joy down in
my heart to stay. And if the Devil doesn’t like it he can sit
tack. Ouch! Sit on a tack. Ouch!”
Frailty is a horror movie that came out in 2001, and it is
one of those obscure little movies that I didn't even hear about for a
couple of years. I had no idea it existed until it started
showing up on lists like "the most underrated horror movies ever made"
or "best horror movies of the past 20 years." And like I said
in my review of The Other, when you see the same movie titles showing
up on lists like these over and over and over, at a certain point you
sort of owe it to yourself to check them out to see what
everyone is talking about.
Frailty is the story of the Meiks family. There are only
three of them, a dad (Bill Paxton) and his two sons. Mom is
no longer in the picture. And they are a very simple family.
There are no deep dark secrets in this family, there is no
shame, there is no abuse, there is no criminal history. All
the Meiks family is is a perfectly ordinary dad and his two perfectly
ordinary sons. And the three of them love each other very
A father and his two beloved sons
Well this is all well and good, of course, until one day when
an angel comes down to dad to speak to him in his dreams.
An angel comes down from heaven to visit the father, the angel passes
him an important message in his sleep, and when dad wakes up in the
morning he realizes that he now has a new mission in life.
It turns out that God has placed him on this planet for a
very special reason.
Dad has been placed on the Earth to hunt demons
And really, that is the story of Frailty. Bill Paxton
receives a message from God that he is supposed to kill demons.
And he snaps. One minute he is an everyday
ordinary father of two young boys, and the next minute he is receiving
messages from God about which people in the world are demons in
disguise and he is supposed to go out and kill. And his two
young sons alternate between taking everything their dad is saying at
face value and believing him, or thinking that their father that they
love so much has gone crazy.
Dad showing proof to his sons that God is delivering him things
Dad trying to convince his son that the three of them are demon hunters
First off, Frailty is one creepy ass movie. And it is the
type of horror movie that I absolutely love. Because it is
not gory, it is not torture porn, it really isn't even all that graphic
at all. It is just the story of a dad who may or may not be
completely insane, and the one son who believes him, and the other son
who doesn't. And it is up to the son who doesn't believe him
to decide if he wants to actually try to stop him.
Dad taking his two boys out on a demon killing mission
The boys watching after dad kidnaps a lady from the mall and murders her
I watched Frailty for the first time in 2005, and the first time I
watched it I immediately put it on my list of "10 Great Horror Movies
That Most People Have Never Seen." In fact this movie was
kind of the reason why I created that list in the first place.
It was all because movies like this don't
deserve never to have ever found an audience.
A lot of people have already seen that list on my Facebook page by the
Great Horror Movies...") I will be writing about all ten of
them this year on my 200 Underloved Movies countdown. For the
record, Frailty is only the third one I have talked about so far.
The other two I have mentioned up to this point are Spoorloos
and The Wicker Man.
Be daddy's little helper and go kill that man down there, okay?
I don't want to say too much about Frailty because it is one of those
movies that works so well the first time you see it. And
again, it isn't a gory movie. Don't be fooled by all the
shots of people holding axes. This movie is psychological
more than anything. It gets right inside your head and it
just stays there. Because, you know, there probably are
people just like Bill Paxton out there in the world. And what
if one of these people thinks that -you- are a demon?
Think about that for a second.
Game over, man. Game over.
By the way, a couple of things I should point out about the awesomely
underrated and creepy Frailty before I sign off.
First off, Bill Paxton directed this movie. It was his
directorial debut. Um, this really isn't the type of movie
you would expect from a guy who was once Simon the used car salesman in
True Lies, or who was once Chet in Weird Science. But yes
Bill Paxton directed this movie and yes it is quite a little
masterpiece of suspense. Not bad for a first time effort.
Like I said, not every movie inspires me to make a ten great
underseen horror movies countdown.
Are you there God? It's me, Paxton.
The second thing I want to say about this movie is that most of it is
told in flashback. It is all told in an interview between
Matthew McConaughey (one of the sons who is now all grown up) and
Powers Boothe (an FBI agent). So when you start watching the
movie, keep in mind that the movie you are expecting to see isn't the
movie that you will see at first. The Bill Paxton/little
kids/demon hunting stuff doesn't kick in for a little bit.
Fenton Meiks (Matthew McConaughey) explaining to the FBI all the people
that his father has killed
Okay, and now the third thing. And this is the big one.
Frailty has a twist in the movie. Actually, it has a couple
of twists. But there is one really BIG twist. And
in my opinion it is sort of what makes the movie. Frailty is
the sort of movie where you sit there, and you watch it, and you think
it is really amazing and creepy and scary. And then the twist
comes and you think to yourself, "holy shit!" and you immediately want
to go back and watch it again.
I know that some people like the twist, I know that some people hate
the twist, but in my opinion it is easily one of the bigger "holy
shit!" twists I have ever seen in a movie. And for that
reason alone I recommend Frailty as a movie that everyone who
loves creepy movies should see at least once.
Watch it once. Send me an email afterwards. Let me
know what you thought of it.
The family that slays together stays together
P.S. Bill Paxton rocks.
Rose, you mean to tell me you had the Heart of the Ocean all along?
Get into the death pit.
favorite IMDB user reviews about Frailty:
Hidden gem! - 18 June 2011
This movie passed by widely unnoticed.
caught it recently by accident if anything. This is not your typical
serial killer movie. This is neither your typical slasher movie.
giving anything away it's a movie you really need to see until the very
end. Well acted (child actors can ruin films but the kids in this are
excellent) and whilst the production values are fairly average the
perfect pacing of the story and the character development is top notch.
The leads (Paxton and Mchouaghey) are terrific and entirely believable.
After switching off the TV at the end I turned to two pals and we all
basically said 'Jesus!' or similar.
I'm sure many others had a similar reaction.
A real hidden gem and a must see.
Astounding - 9 February
first saw the trailer for Frailty on Yahoo Movies way back in the day,
after hearing Stephen King praise it to high heaven. Not really a fan
of either star, I still wanted to see it because I'm a huge thriller
I was not disappointed. The acting was superb, especially
from the two young boys. Usually I loathe child actors, but Young Adam
and Young Fenton were excellent. Bill Paxton really did a good job of
directing it too. It was beautifully shot.
One must also note
the plot twists. The three twists at the end hit hard and fast, and I
didn't see them coming. The final twist of the film, coupled with the
gravity of what had just been revealed, gives me chills to this day,
even though I've re-watched the film so many times.
A true gem.
Creepy....Not at all what
I expected!!! - 1 May 2011
husband made me watch this movie the other night...and I thought oh no
here we go again another bad horror movie...I was wrong this movie was
absolutely terrifying, and not in a Texas Chainsaw kinda way. I can't
even compare it to any other movie I have ever seen.
place in Texas at a FBI office were they have been searching for the
God's Hand Killer. Matthew McConaughey plays Fenton Meiks a Man who
comes to visit the FBI Agent who is working on the case to tell him he
knows who the God's Hand Killer is.
What happens next is a
whirlwind of events, and flash backs into young Fenton ,and his younger
brother Adam's life. That's were Bill Paxton comes in, by far one of
the craziest roles I've ever seen him in.
It is a movie about
good vs. evil, heaven vs. hell, and the twist at the end was crazy I
didn't even see it coming. Do your self a favor and check this movie
Very atmospheric! - 4
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
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
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
seeing it again 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
Wow... - 7 April 2006
Absolutely stunning. This is a movie about two kids whose father
suddenly has a vision. He claims an angel visits him, and tells him
that they need to kill "demons". He gets instructions later, and they
start rounding up the demons, which are, to the naked eye, ordinary
people. They kill these so-called demons with an ax to the head, and
chop them up, burying them in the rose-garden. Their father claims he
can see their sins when he touches them. The movie continues, with a
twist at the end.
The thing that I love about this movie, is
that it perfectly captures the frailty of human perception. Is their
father completely mad? Or, is he telling the truth? The audience is
left to decide. Go make the judgment for yourself, and see the movie.
Frailty is truly original
and an excellent horror movie - 9 October 2006
could be the most underrated movie of its genre. I don't remember
seeing any advertisements or commercials for this one which could be
the reason why it didn't do so well at the box office. However, Frailty
is an excellent and a truly original horror movie. I rank it within the
top 10 most favorite horror movies on my list.
Movie begins with
snapshots of photos and news articles telling us about a killer who
calls himself "God's hand". And then a man walks into a police station
and tells the chief officer that he knows the killer is his brother.
Two of them leave together to go to a location where victims are buried
which might help solve the case. During that trip, the man begins
telling the story of his brother and we go back in time when the events
began. Fenton and Adam are two young brothers living with their strict
and religious father who, one day, claims that he has received a divine
message from God asking him to kill the demons that appear to be
regular human beings. He receives from God a list of names of demons to
be destroyed and asks his sons to help him carry out this divine
This is an absolutely horrifying and suspenseful film
that will keep you at the edge of your seat. The tension runs high,
innocent people (or demons?) get killed and religious experiences are
questioned. It has not one but few very intelligent twists at the end.
If you like this genre, I highly recommend Frailty for you. I own the
DVD and it is one of my all time favorite horror-thrillers.
One of the scariest films
I've ever seen - 23 May 2011
was actually channel-surfing a few weeks ago and happened upon the
first few minutes of this film. I have never really been a fan of any
of the actors, which would probably explain why I didn't catch
"Frailty" when it was still in its first-run. This movie scared the
hell out of me, quite simply. In this world of bizarre cults, religious
fanatics, weekly Armageddons, etc., it would be easy to imagine a
misplaced, misguided, or just plain crazy guy declaring his intention
to heed the word of the Lord and start killing "demons." The fact that
he dragged his two young sons into this carnage made it all the more
sick and twisted - especially the younger boy, whose enthusiasm for his
father's "mission" turned my stomach. Only Fenton, the older boy,
seemed to have a conscience. However, thanks to a wonderful script and
excellent direction, we find out that even this is not exactly the
truth. Or is it? I am almost middle-aged, and have only sat through
three movies that left me with the creepy and distinct feeling that I
will probably burn in hell just for viewing them. "Rosemary's Baby" is
one, followed by "The Seventh Sign," and now "Frailty."
favorite trivia about Frailty:
* Directors James Cameron, Sam Raimi and author Stephen King all
singled out Frailty for high praise. King thought it one of the best
horror movies of its year.
* The film is set in Texas and has three Texas-born actors as
top-billed stars: Bill Paxton, Matthew McConaughey, and Powers Boothe.
* Bill Paxton's directorial debut. Allegedly, the title Frailty (which
is never spoken in the film) refers not to the slow disintegration of
the family, but to the very low budget for the movie. Lion's Gate
considered changing the title to "God's Hands" (which is a phrase
spoken in the film) but Paxton and writer Brent Hanley insisted against
this. Ironically, the Brazilian title is 'A Mão do Diabo' (The Devil's
* The demon-destroying axe is inscribed with the letters OTIS. The
significance of this writing is never given. Fans have speculated that
Otis Meiks is the true name of Bill Paxton's character "Dad." Others
believe OTIS to be an acronym for Only The Innocent Survive.
* Bill Paxton mentions in the director commentary at 54:19 "We couldn't
really dig it [the hole] that deep .. unless it's reinforced, so
actually in this shot [54:31] I'm on my knees and kind of making it
look like I'm standing up to make the hole look deeper and of course
there's a little mound there [at the lip of the hole]."
* Putting the name OTIS on the axe was completely director Bill
Paxton's invention. Paxton put the name OTIS on the axe to mark it so
that the audience would know that it is an heirloom passed from father
favorite scene in Frailty:
Well the ending of course. I have always
thought that religion is a pretty creepy concept in general.
This movie confirms it. :)
at the IMDB
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