"In cooking, as in all the arts, simplicity is a sign of perfection." - Curnonsky

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

No Dinner, but a DVD: Frailty

No time for dinner tonight. I had my facial (have to keep my youthful appearance) after work tonight so it was just frozen egg rolls. But I did manage to watch a DVD:


Many people consider the horror genre a mere bag of tired cliches and proved formulas, still, there are overlooked movies that prove the contrary such as this little modern gem that marks the debut of actor Bill Paxton as director. "Frailty" is a modest low-budget film that accomplishes more than what most of the recent big-budget horror films have done and with a very original and clever plot. This great mix of horror and suspense is a great step in Bill Paxton's promising career as a director.

While a series of bizarre murders by a serial killer named "God's Hand" shock the nation, a man (Matthew McConaughey) goes to the FBI headquarters one rainy night claiming that his brother is the infamous killer. Interrogated by FBI Agent Wesley Doyle (Powers Boothe), the man, whose name is Fenton Meiks, begins to tell the story of his childhood in order to explain why he believes his brother Adam was responsible of the murders.

And so he begins telling how when he and Adam were just kids, their father (Bill Paxton) had a religious experience and received a message from God giving them the mission to destroy demons. Fenton explains how he unwillingly joined his family in a bizarre series of murders following his father's visions.

At first sight "Frailty" is a low-budget film like the many dramas that are made for television, but in fact this film has a powerful and captivating storyline that never looses steam. It is a roller-coaster of suspense very well handled that keeps the tension always to the max. Without being explicit or too violent, the movie presents the internal hell that young Fenton had to endure while following his fanatic family and the conflicts he has as he doesn't believe in God.

Bill Paxton gives an old school feeling to this character-driven horror film. With a very good pace he lets the story unfold keeping the interest and never letting the film drag for a second. It may not be the most visually impressive film, but it is a breath of fresh air against the fast-pack edition of modern horror films.

The acting is top-notch, specially in the part of the kids. Young Fenton can't believe his family is killing people under the excuse of a divine task. His performance as a kid who gets carried in this nightmare is simply perfect. Young Adam is also very good, and even when his role is a bit smaller he is very convincing as the only one who believes in his father's mission. Paxton is great as usual and one can never say if he is insane or if he really has seen God. It is a very convincing role and together with the two kids carry the movie with power.

The film is near-perfect and is a very good example that sometimes less is more. Still, the movie is a bit short and the ending feels a bit too rushed. However, it is enough to conclude this great story and is a very rewarding experience. It is a very good horror/suspense movie that will please fans of horror tired of the constant repetitive plots of modern horror films. This gem is definitely worth a look.

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