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4.3 13

Cast: Bill Paxton, Matthew McConaughey, Powers Boothe, Matt O'Leary


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Actor Bill Paxton made his directorial debut with Frailty. The bulk of the story is told through flashbacks, as a mysterious man (Matthew McConaughey) tells a terrible tale to an FBI agent (Powers Boothe) investigating the "God's Hand" serial killer case. The man grew up in a small town in Texas, where he and his brother lived a bucolic life with their


Actor Bill Paxton made his directorial debut with Frailty. The bulk of the story is told through flashbacks, as a mysterious man (Matthew McConaughey) tells a terrible tale to an FBI agent (Powers Boothe) investigating the "God's Hand" serial killer case. The man grew up in a small town in Texas, where he and his brother lived a bucolic life with their kindhearted widower father (Paxton). One night, the father awakens the two boys, Fenton (Matthew O'Leary) and Adam (Jeremy Sumpter), and tells them he's had a vision, and God has chosen him and his sons to help Him slay demons who walk the earth in human form. He tells the boys they can never tell anyone about this task. Before long, he comes home from work with a list of names that he claims an angel has given to him. He then begins abducting people, bringing them home, one by one, and having the boys watch while he lays his hands on them. After having proven, to his mind, that they are demons and not human, he chops them up with an axe while the boys look on. Young Adam is eager to participate, seeing his family as "kind of like superheroes," while the older Fenton is distraught, believing that his father has lost his mind. He contemplates running away, but is reluctant to leave his little brother behind. Eventually, he goes to the authorities, which results in disaster. As he tells the story, McConaughey takes Boothe out to the public rose garden near his old home, where he claims his brother, the "God's Hand" killer, buried the bodies. Paxton dramatizes the mayhem while leaving almost all of the gore offscreen, and Brent Hanley's script leaves the true motives of several characters unclear until the very end.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Tony Nigro
The lines between faith, zealotry, and insanity are blurred in Bill Paxton's directorial debut, a contemporary psychothriller with nods to Alfred Hitchcock. Paxton himself stars as a single father of two who claims to have orders from God to destroy demons on Earth. Unfortunately, the demons he sees seem to be real people, his weapon of choice is an axe, and he forces his two young sons to help him with his bloody mission. Paxton carries the film with the refined subtlety of a master sociopath -- he seems totally sane despite the absurdity of his dogma. Matthew McConaughey costars as one of the sons, who as an adult recounts the clan's disturbing deeds in flashbacks to FBI agent Powers Boothe. For a first-time director, Paxton frightens with finesse, acknowledging the tried-and-true tactics of Hitchcock, most notably when one of the boys is confined to a basement and suffers a Vertigo-esque freak-out sequence. But be not mistaken: Just when Frailty may start to seem too straightforward or derivative, the movie throws a creepy curve and spirals downward. Whether it spirals into insanity or into Hell is the question, one that is answered in the unnerving twist of an ending.
All Movie Guide - Josh Ralske
Directors Sam Raimi and James Cameron and author Stephen King have praised Bill Paxton's directorial debut, Frailty, as an original and genuinely frightening film, but while the film has an intriguing premise, it doesn't quite fulfill its promise. Frailty builds fairly well, and then seemingly doesn't know where to go. At the end, there are the requisite twists you won't see coming, of the type that have plagued thrillers since The Sixth Sense. Paxton, star of such great films as Aliens (directed by Cameron) and A Simple Plan (directed by Raimi), overplays his redneck zealotry a bit. He's surprisingly the weak link in a competent cast. Matthew McConaughey strikes just the right haunted note, and the two child actors, Matt O'Leary and Jeremy Sumpter, faced with extremely challenging (if not downright impossible) roles, acquit themselves admirably. Paxton does a more impressive job behind the camera, as he and veteran director of photography Bill Butler (DP on The Conversation, Jaws, and One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest) give the film a classic look. Novice screenwriter Brent Hanley has cited Night of the Hunter as an inspiration, and while Frailty doesn't approach that film's power, for a good portion of its running time, it chillingly examines the conflicts of a child whose father has apparently slipped into madness. Paxton accomplishes this without resorting to gore or cheap scares, but the film's achievements are severely undercut by its unconvincing resolution.
New York Times - Stephen Holden
Paxton's Dad may be the most terrifying father to appear in a horror film since Jack Nicholson went crazily homicidal in The Shining.
Chicago Sun-Times - Roger Ebert

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.
A resoundingly old-fashioned and well crafted study of evil infecting an American family, Frailty moves from strength to strength on its deceptive narrative course. Robert Koehler

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Lions Gate
[Wide Screen]
[DTS 5.1-Channel Surround Sound, Dolby AC-3 Surround Sound]
Sales rank:

Special Features

Audio Commentaries with Director Bill Paxton and Writer Brent Hanley; ; Production Commentary with Arnold Glassman, David Kirschner and Brian Tyler; ; "Anatomy of a Scene" Featurette Courtesy of Sundance Channel; "The Making of Frailty" Featurette; Deleted Scenes with Optional Director Commentary; Storyboards; Photo Gallery

Related Subjects

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Bill Paxton Dad
Matthew McConaughey Fenton Meiks
Powers Boothe Wesley Doyle
Matt O'Leary Young Fenton Meiks
Jeremy Sumpter Young Adam Meiks
Luke Askew Sheriff Smalls
Derk Cheetwood Agent Griffin Hull
Missy Crider Becky
Alan Davidson Brad White
Cynthia Ettinger Cynthia Harbridge
Vincent Chase Edward March
Gwen McGee Operator
Lance E. Nichols FBI Agent No. 4
Edgar Davis FBI Agent No. 2
Levi Kreis Fenton Meiks
Edmond Scott Ratliff The Angel
Rebecca Tilney Teacher
Blake King Eric
Brad Berryhill Teenage Demon
Greg Serano FBI Agent No. 1
Jim Flowers FBI Agent No. 3
John Paxton Janitor In Lobby
Richard A. Bell Curtis
Chelsea Blain Butler Little Girl
Jennifer Drake Teacher's Aid
Betty Gurule Doyle's Mother

Technical Credits
Bill Paxton Director
Mary Gail Artz Casting
David Blocker Producer
Lance Brown Sound/Sound Designer
Bill Butler Cinematographer
Nelson Coates Art Director
Barbara Cohen Casting
Kevin Jay Cozen Art Director
Randy Feemster Camera Operator
April Ferry Costumes/Costume Designer
Arnold Glassman Editor
Brent Hanley Screenwriter
Joel C. High Musical Direction/Supervision
Tom Huckabee Executive Producer
Eberhard Kayser Co-producer
David Kirschner Producer
Frederick Levy Associate Producer
Karen Loop Executive Producer
Mario Ohoven Co-producer
Michael Ohoven Co-producer
Tom Ortenberg Executive Producer
Michael Paseornek Executive Producer
Corey Sienega Producer
Gary R. Speckman Set Decoration/Design
Susumu Tokunow Sound Mixer
Brian Tyler Score Composer
Tim Walston Sound/Sound Designer


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Frailty 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
frailty, i must say.. has got to be one of the scariest, yet best thrillers ever! Frailty makes the Sixth Sense look like a Barney show(just kidding.. sixth sense is scary too). but, this is a really good movie. i enjoyed it. the demons were scary. it's confusing at first. but, in the end, it's all wrapped up. good job for bill paxton, Matthew o ' leary, jeremy sumpter(cutie pie).. and of course the director and producers.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This movie is a great directing debut by Bill Paxton. Matt O'leary, a new talent, shines in this movie. The other actors do very well. A good thriller, i highly suggest it even though it didn't get a lot of publicity.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This film has been described as a ''thinking man's horror movie.'' I could not put it any better. Utterly chilling because it is just an everyday guy. He could be your next-door neighbor.
Guest More than 1 year ago
i didnt hear much about this movie, but i saw it in the movie store & thought...oh well. much to my suprise it was really good. id buy it !...plus mathew is in it & he look GOOOOD!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I went and watched this movie in theaters and was simply amazed. Bill Paxton does an excellent directing job and the actors do a great job. This movie is very suspenseful more than scary, but did have some scary moments. The only thing that could have better is they should have had more blood, because the movie isn't really bloody but it doesn't take away from the suspense.
Guest More than 1 year ago
My mom was the first to tell me about this movie, saying that I just had to watch it. I loved every minute of it. The first time I watched it I got a little confused at the end, but since then I have watched it over and over again, never missing a minute of it!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was amazed that about half way through this movie I realized it was very scary. This movie concerns a normal family that was changed for the worst one night when the father saw a vision. Without giving away any details, this seemingly normal father and two sons began a quest to rid the world of evil to save it. Although the eldest son was reluctant, and after some ''persuasion'' by his father, he came to participate in the salvation of the world. In later years one of the sons turns up at the local FBI office to turn in his brother as a serial killer. Now what made this movie scary was that this family continued their daily activities, interacted with their friends, but still managed to eliminate a few people who the father believed were the devil's handymen. It made me remember all those interviews on the news of serial killers where the neighbors claim they were nice and normal and I began to wonder about my next door neighbors. Don't look for a lot of blood or gore, and their are a few surpises throughout and expecially at the end which made it even scarier as the shadows saw what was going on. A very good movie whithout all the high tech and special effects.
Guest More than 1 year ago
from start to finish a movie that i thoroughly enjoyed. without drowning you in special effects or corny one liners, it hit home in it's ability to be believed and set in the texas bible belt lent credence to the entire plot for me. i thought the acting was superb and well cast, making the characters believable. make you stop and think for a moment, you never know what's going on inside the other persons head.
Guest More than 1 year ago
this was an interesting film that i never heard of until a friend who also loves horror told me about. i watched it and it was really good. bill paxton is quite the director and matthew mccounaghly in my opinion gives a creepy performance. this is about a family, a vision from an angel and their mission to stop demons disguised as humans.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Ever since "The Sixth Sense", every movie has to have a twist. In this case, it is a very, very stupid twist. It was totally irrelevant to the plot. The acting in this movie was okay, but the moment that the plot twist comes to light, every thing good about this movie was all for nothing.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Best get right with Jesus.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I must say that this is an impressive movie with good suspense and key parts to the whole story somewhere near the end which is just awesome. Everyone especially Matthew does a creepy and mysterious performance as somewhat the main character explaining all that has happened to him and his family through childhood memories. I give this 8 out of 10.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago