Frailty

  Frailty
Bill Paxton receives directing tips from a higher power.

© 2002, Lions Gate
All Rights Reserved

I, for one, learned a great deal from "Frailty" (IMDb listing). Murderers, pedophiles and their ilk are not human beings. They are demons that need to be destroyed. I owe director and star Bill Paxton an enormous pat on the back for cleansing me of the opinion that capital punishment is hypocritical and ineffective. And also for proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that there is one true and almighty Lord (and yes, He actually does speak to some of us).

In short, "Frailty" is a pile of crap. Why, then, is the video box littered with blurbs of obeisance from the likes of Stephen King and Sam Raimi? I mean, I thought it was a little odd when Clive Barker endorsed "Jeepers Creepers," but what the fuck, Sam? The most disturbing horror picture you've seen since "The Shining?" Have you ever seen, um, "Evil Dead?"

The thing about a movie like "Frailty" that really gets my goat is how far-fetched it is. Before I realized it was in fact a supernatural horror flick, I kept telling myself, "Christ, this is less believable than most supernatural horror flicks." The whole setup is just too damn zany to be taken seriously. Bill Paxton plays dad to two boys. God speaks to him one night, tells him that he and his sons have to start killing demons, a list of which will be provided shortly by one of God's angels. Okay, so we've got a messed up lunatic who's going to kill people with the help of his kids. Well, for the first two acts, that's about the size of it. But act three (and if you think I give a shit about spoiling the ending of this dud, think again) spins us into maddening confusion as we discover that dear old dad has been on the right track all along! Oh, and there's a switcheroo with respect to the identities of the two boys as grownups. It's completely gratuitous and is only present to lend the story some semblance of forward motion, but I thought I'd mention it just the same.

The most disturbing horror picture since "The Shining?" How about the stupidest horror picture since "Hannibal." The best moment of "Frailty" belongs to Powers Boothe, who probably should have been the lead. A flashback near the end gives him a chance to shine, but it's too little too late. It takes the script half an hour just to get off its ass. Once it does, it would be nice for it to take us on a jog through the woods instead of a stroll through town with a pronounced limp. You know you're in trouble when a movie makes you wish you were watching "Stigmata" instead.

Filmfodder Grade: D+