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Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Bill Paxton|
|Produced by||David Kirschner|
|Written by||Brent Hanley|
|Music by||Brian Tyler|
|Edited by||Arnold Glassman|
David Kirschner Productions
American Entertainment Co.
Cinerenta Medienbeteiligungs KG
|Distributed by||Lions Gate Films|
|April 12, 2002|
|Box office||$17.4 million|
Frailty is a 2002 American psychological thriller film, directed by and starring Bill Paxton, and co-starring Matthew McConaughey. It marks Paxton's directorial debut. The plot focuses on the strange relationship between two young boys and their fanatically religious father, who believes that he has been commanded by God to kill demons disguised as people.
Fenton Meiks visits FBI Agent Wesley Doyle claiming that his brother Adam is the "God's Hand" serial killer Doyle has been hunting. Meiks says Adam has committed suicide, prompting Fenton to fulfill a promise to bury Adam in a public rose garden in their hometown of Thurman. He begins to tell Doyle about the boys' childhood and suggests that the bodies of the God's Hand victims are buried in that rose garden. Meiks continues telling Doyle his story as the two drive to Thurman.
When the brothers were children, their father told them that he'd been visited by an angel and tasked by God with destroying demons disguised as human beings. As punishment for his initial disbelief, he demands Fenton dig a root cellar. He explains that this mission is now the responsibility of the three of them and must be kept secret from all others. The father's modus operandi is to wait for the angel to give him a list of names of those who must be destroyed. He then abducts an individual from the list, takes them to the family home and, with his sons present, touches them, which, he says, grants him a vision of the crimes the demon has committed. He then finishes the victim with an ax and buries the body in the rose garden.
Adam believes in their father's mission and says that he sees the same visions of the demons' crimes that their father sees. Although he initially goes along out of fear, Fenton doesn't believe and is convinced that their father is psychotic and has brainwashed Adam. Eventually, Fenton tries to stop the crimes by telling the local sheriff what has happened. The sheriff visits, but is about to leave when Fenton insists that he search their root cellar. Horrified, the father kills the sheriff.
He blames Fenton for revealing their mission and thus forcing him to kill the sheriff. He further implies that the angel has told him that Fenton is a demon too, but instead of killing Fenton, he locks Fenton in the root cellar hoping Fenton will have a divine revelation. After countless days of starvation, Fenton tells his father that he has indeed seen God and is ready to take his place in the mission.
Upon the next abduction, Fenton is given the ax to deliver the death blow, but kills his father. As Fenton moves to free the hostage, Adam takes up the ax and finishes the victim. The two boys bury the bodies in the rose garden and Fenton asks Adam to bury him in the rose garden should Adam ever decide to "destroy" Fenton.
Puzzled by his phrasing, Meiks reveals to Doyle that he is Adam and that he has destroyed Fenton, who grew up to become the God's Hand serial killer. Further flashbacks reveal that those his father abducted had indeed committed horrific crimes and that Adam had shared in his father's visions of those crimes, just as he'd always claimed. When he touches Doyle, a new vision reveals that Doyle had murdered his own mother. Meiks tells a dazed Doyle that Doyle's name was given to him on the list of demons to be destroyed. Doyle protests that people at the office saw Adam. Adam declares that God will protect him and then strikes down Doyle with the ax.
Those who saw Meiks at the FBI office, including Agent Griffin Hull (who can only recall speaking with him face-to-face and shaking his hand), inexplicably remember nothing about "Fenton" Meiks' appearance. Surveillance videotapes all have a distortion when played that obscures Meiks' face. The investigation then proceeds as Adam had predicted.
Agent Hull visits Enid County Sheriff Adam Meiks to deliver the news about Fenton, but doesn't recognize him. He departs, Adam telling his pregnant wife that "God's will has been served."
- Bill Paxton - Dad Meiks
- Matthew McConaughey - Fenton Meiks/Adam Meiks
- Powers Boothe - FBI Agent Wesley Doyle
- Matt O'Leary - Young Fenton
- Jeremy Sumpter - Young Adam
- Luke Askew - Sheriff Smalls
- Levi Kreis - Adam Meiks/Fenton Meiks
- Derk Cheetwood - Agent Griffin Hull
- Missy Crider - Becky Meiks (as Melissa Crider)
- Alan Davidson - Brad White
- Cynthia Ettinger - Cynthia Harbridge
- Vincent Chase - Edward March
- Gwen McGee - Operator
- Edmond Scott Ratliff - The Angel
- Rebecca Tilney - Teacher
Frailty received generally positive reviews, with a 73% "Certified Fresh" rating on movie review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes based on 148 reviews. Roger Ebert in particular singled it out for praise, giving the film four out of four stars and declaring that "Frailty is an extraordinary work, concealing in its depths not only unexpected story turns but also implications, hidden at first, that make it even deeper and more sad." Bloody Disgusting gave the film an 'Honourable Mention' in their list of the twenty best horror films of the 2000s, calling the film an "underrated gem [...] a small-scale, thought-provoking horror film that deserves a second look."
- "Frailty". Classification.gov.au.
- "Frailty (2002) – Box Office Mojo". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved February 28, 2016.
Information courtesy of Box Office Mojo. Used with permission.
- "Frailty – Rotten Tomatoes". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved September 28, 2012.
- Ebert, Roger (April 12, 2002). "Frailty". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved September 28, 2012.
- "00's Retrospect: Bloody Disgusting's Top 20 Films of the Decade...Part 1". Bloody Disgusting. December 15, 2009. Retrieved September 28, 2012.
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