The Spill on Spook


December 28, 2012 by   | Category: Reviews

Released in 2001, Frailty is one of the most underrated horror/thriller movies of the last decade. Starring Matthew McConaughey and Bill Paxton in starring roles, the film also marked the directorial debut of actor Bill Paxton. Dealing with the horrors of religious fanaticism intertwined with insanity and the supernatural, Frailty managed to shock and awe cinema-goers with powerful performances by the entire star cast.

 To make a long story short

 The film opens on a rainy night. A young man walks into the Dallas office of the FBI. He introduces himself as Fenton Meiks and claims that he may know the identity of the notorious serial killer who goes by the moniker ‘God’s Hand’. The lead investigator Wesley Doyle (Powers Boothe) brushes him off at first. But soon, he is intrigued by Fenton’s story of a religious but mentally unhinged father who claims to have received a message from God. The message is to kill all ‘demons’ roaming the Earth, to punish them for their ‘sins’. The only catch is that the demons look just like normal human beings.

 What follows next is anyone’s guess. Regular people are picked and mercilessly hacked to death with the help of “Otis”, Dad Meik’s trusty axe and buried in a rose garden. Younger brother Adam, the alleged “God’s Hand” killer, is fascinated by the idea of being a super-hero and gleefully assists his father. But the older Fenton realizes Dad Meiks (as Bill Paxton is referred to in the film) has descended into insanity. The carnage finally reaches a boiling point and events transpire that change the whole course of the trio’s lives.

 Acting/Thrills and Chills

 In what may be his finest performance ever, Bill Paxton is guaranteed to shock and terrify you with his amazing performance as Dad Meiks. Channeling a psychotic killer perfectly, he wields the axe with ease and without remorse. Matthew McConaughey is a revelation as Fenton, the man with a terrible secret. The young actors Matt O’Leary and Jeremy Sumpter are superb in their respective roles of the young Fenton and Adam, showing us how easily innocent young minds can be distorted and manipulated to do almost anything imaginable.

 Despite being made on a budget of about $11,000, 000, a pittance in Hollywood these days, the movie never compromises on the thrills and chills. The direction is par excellence, with Paxton expertly portraying the madness that unfolds in the tiny rural household of the Meiks. The best part of the movie is that it manages to be thrilling and terrifying despite the fact that many of the killings take place off-screen. Perhaps this could be a lesson to film-makers these days, who rely on gore and gratuitous violence without focusing on a strong story



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