Preview by Jack Foley
WHEN horror master Stephen King enthuses that he has 'never seen a movie
quite like Frailty' and goes on to describe it as 'unique, thought-provoking,
edge-of-the-seat entertainment', horror fans had better take notice.
And if that fails to convince them, then what about this... from Sam Raimi, the Spider-Man director who also helmed the original Evil Dead: "Frailty is the most frightening horror picture I've seen since The Shining. It kept me on the edge of my seat begging for mercy."
Needless to say, Frailty is proving a popular entry into the horror genre and it is easy to see why. Watching it is an unsettling experience. It is riveting, creepy and extremely well acted; but it is also very disturbing, attacking you psychologically in ways that you would least expect.
The movie marks the directorial debut of Bill Paxton (of Twister and Aliens fame), and stars Matthew McGonaughey, Powers Boothe and Paxton himself.
It centres around an FBI agent's search for the Texas-based killer, the 'God's Hand murderer', and unfolds when a man (McGonaughey's Fenton Meiks) walks into his office to reveal that he knows the identity of the killer.
The story which unfolds, involving his father and brother, is a twisting, turning tale of faith and retribution which seldom leads you to places you expect. It conjures memories of all the great pscyhological thrillers of recent years, from Kubrick through to Fincher's Se7en, while maintaining an identity all of its own.
US critics were keen to heap praise on it, even if audiences found it a little too independent to venture in their droves. But it should find a lot of fans when it arrives in the UK on September 6 (not long to wait, then), when Indielondon will deliver its full verdict, together with a feature on what drew Paxton to the project.
And if you're still not convinced, then consider the words of James Cameron, who described Frailty as 'electrifying', before adding: "A tale of madness and elemental evil which keeps you guessing until the very last shot."
...As every great chiller should...
WHAT THE US CRITICS HAD TO SAY:
The Chicago Sun-Times gets the ball rolling by describing Frailty as 'an extraordinary work', while Entertainment Weekly awarded it a Grade B and said that it is 'far sturdier than its title suggests'.
The New York Times noted that the movie's 'screenplay has some clever tricks up its sleeve', while the Hollywood reporter refers to it as 'an auspicious debut for both its screenwriter and director'.
FilmCritic.com awarded it a near-perfect four and a half stars out of five and said it was a 'smart, suspenseful, and sophisticated' movie, while Planet-Sickboy acknowedges it as 'a slick, creepy little film'.
On a negative note, the Boston Phoenix poses the question, 'whodunit?' and answers, 'who cares?', while USA Today said it is 'quietly methodical but too dependent on a contrived twist finale you sense is coming without being able to guess the specifics'.
But Village Voice refers to it as 'the most pungent American-Pentecostal mini-nightmare since 1996's true-crime doc Paradise Lost' and Popmatters rounds this overview off by describing it as 'moody, perverse, and full to busting with metaphorical cautions'.
Horror fans can gain a sneak peak at the movie by getting themselves along to London's Frightfest 2002, details of which can be accessed by clicking here...
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Talk To Her, the new Almodovar. Click here...
Lantana, one of the movies of the year? Click here...
Trouble Every Day, French vampire/cannibal flick. Click here...