Bill Paxton as Dad
Matthew McConaughey as Fenton Meiks
Powers Boothe as Agent Wesley Doyle
Matthew O’Leary as Young Fenton Meiks
Jeremy Sumpter as Young Adam Meiks
Luke Askew as Sheriff Smalls
Levi Kreis as Fenton
Derk Cheetwood as Agent Griffin Hull
Missy Crider as Becky
Alan Davidson as Brad White
Cynthia Ettinger as Cynthia Harbridge
Vincent Chase as Edward March
Audio Commentary with Director Bill Paxton
Audio Commentary with Producer David Kirshner, Composer Brian Tiler, and Editor Arnold Glassman
Audio Commentary by Writer Brent Hanley
“Making of” Featurette
Sundance Channel presents “Anatomy of a Scene”
Photographic Presentation by James Hamilton
English and Spanish Subtitles
Running Time: 99 Mins.
A serial killer called “The God’s Hand Killer” has been terrorizing north Texas. The FBI has been investigating the murders but has no leads. One night a man by the name of Fenton walks into their headquarters and says he knows the identity of the killer. It’s his brother, Adam. He begins to tell the FBI agent his terrifying family history.
In the late 70’s, Fenton’s father was a simple car mechanic in a small Texas town. Though their mother had died years earlier, they led a fairly normal, happy life. One night Fenton’s Dad awoke with a vision. An angel from God came to him and told him that he and his family would begin killing demons for the Lord. The angel would provide him with a list of the demons to kill and the necessary weapons. The demons all look like humans, but when he would lay his hands on them their true nature would be revealed. The boys are shocked, but Adam totally buys into his father’s wild claims.
Thinking his father has gone crazy, Fenton initially ignores his father’s “quest”. However, he can no longer ignore it when his father brings home a woman and proceeds to kill her with an axe. The situation continues to spin out of control as Fenton must figure out how to stop his father. As the tale unfolds we begin to learn the true nature behind the events and the reason why Fenton has gone to the FBI to turn his brother in.
“Frailty” is rated R for violence and some language.
I missed this film in the theaters so my DVD viewing was the first time I saw it. I really got into “Frailty” and enjoyed it a lot. I thought it was interesting and suspenseful and it had a twist at the end that made me totally rethink everything I saw from the beginning. Our reviewer Andy Weil found it to be predictable when he saw it in theaters, but I really didn’t see the ending coming. It was the kind of thing that made me continue thinking about the movie days after I watched it.
The God of the Old Testament is something that is generally not discussed much. If you go back and read the stories, you realize that God back then asked his followers to do some really horrible things. He would kill children in Egypt, tell the Israelites to invade countries and wipe out women and children, and He would tell Abraham to sacrifice his own son. While shocking and horrible, there was ultimately a greater purpose behind the events. Frailty examines that idea in depth. What would happen if God commanded a modern man to go out and kill evil people? Should he refuse? Is that person crazy if he goes along with it? Is he a hero? How far would you go if you were in that position? It’s one of the more thought provoking horror movies to come along in a long time.
This story is told with a definite tip of the hat to Alfred Hitchcock. Not only are the scenes set up like his, but gore and violence is kept to a minimum in favor of suspense. This is a great directorial debut for Bill Paxton.
“Making of” Featurette – This short video gives a pretty good look behind the scenes of the film. You get a good appreciation for how they really went for the Hitchcock feel to the film. Bill Paxton comes across as knowing what he’s doing in his directorial debut and the whole crew compliments him on his work. Writer Brent Hanley talks about how his childhood in Texas and fascination with Revelations inspired this film. His work is all the more impressive considering this is his first writing job. They also talk a bit with the two young stars Matthew O’Leary and Jeremy Sumpter. It was a fortunate bit of casting when they got these two kids. Not only did they deliver fine performances, but they seemed to have a lot of fun on the set. Overall this documentary is a nice, quick synopsis of how “Frailty” was made. This one’s worth checking out.
Sundance Channel presents “Anatomy of a Scene” – Anyone interested in filmmaking will want to view this clip. I’ve never seen the Sundance Channel or this show before, but it was an incredibly in-depth look into the making of a couple of scenes in the film. I couldn’t believe how much time and effort went into some of these scenes and it gave me a new appreciation for what they accomplished. The show focuses on a scene where the two main characters have a discussion in a car on a rainy dark highway. The entire scene was filmed indoors in a stationary car using a “poor man’s process”. With some trick lighting, some big fans, and a guy with two flashlights to pose as another car’s headlights, it’s an impressive look at the tricks of the trade. They also focus on the script of the scene, the storyboards, and more. Though this is a highly technical feature, it was interesting to the average viewer, too.
Deleted Scenes – The deleted scenes aren’t terribly exciting which is reason enough for them to be cut. Most of them involve a few scenes where Fenton reads through the Bible trying to prove why his father’s visions are not really from God. Another takes place during the hole digging scene while another shows the boys helping their father by duct taping a demon.
Audio Commentary with Director Bill Paxton – Paxton delivers an interesting, funny, and informative commentary on this DVD. He’ll talk about the tricks they used to film certain scenes and how he paid special attention to transitions between scenes. He talks about how he cast his old acting coach in a bit part in the film as well as other friends. He points out how the two young stars of the film appear in the very last scene in the movie riding skateboards in the background. He also talks about how he screened the film for James Cameron. Cameron made a suggestion about the editing which ended up making the film much more interesting and made the twist at the end pay off more. It was a nice touch. Paxton does a great job pointing out things you might not have caught the first time around or interesting bits of trivia about the movie. This is a commentary worth listening to.
The Bottom Line:
This is an entertaining film that will totally creep you out. “Frailty” is a movie you’ll want to go back and watch again and share with your friends, so the DVD is a good addition to your collection.