Tuesday’s Overlooked Film: Frailty (2001)

Frailty is one of those strange films for me. As much as I liked it, it is a film I am hard pressed to see again.

That is because it is a terrifying film in the best sense of the term. It is psychologically (and visually) disturbing yet you are compelled to watch the film all the way to its final movements.

Much of the film is told in flashback from the perspective of Fenton Meiks (Matthew McConaughey). He is relaying his traumatic childhood to FBI Agent Doyle (Powers Booth). ‘Dad’ Meiks (played by Bill Paxton) believes that he is on a mission from God (by way of visions) to rid the world of demons. As such, he goes on a killing spree of ‘innocents.’  Fenton goes on to explain to Agent Doyle that these circumstances caused a fissure between him and his other brother, Adam – one thinking that it was their responsibility to continue their father’s overzealous and twisted legacy.

I will leave it at that or as River Song is apt to say …

Frailty is an excellent feature film debut from Bill Paxton, who is more widely known for his acting. His presence on screen freaks the absolute heck out of me.

Find other great overlooked (or forgotten) films at Todd Mason’s blog, Sweet Freedom.



  1. One of only a handful of films where I have guessed the twist before the end. Still a very cool movie!
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  2. Patti Abbott says:

    Interesting but terrifying. Paxton has scared me every since. Especially in BIG LOVE where I always expected him to do something vile. And he did. Just not so graphic.

  3. I’ve never heard of this movie and I probably will not watch it because it seems too violent for me. But now I’ll know what people are talking about if I hear of it again 🙂
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  4. Jack Deth says:

    Hi, iluv and company:

    Excellent review!

    Bill Paxton came completely out of left field with this creepy, low budget thriller. Really admire his use of shadows and light to heighten tension, suspense and sudden terror. Very high marks!

    Well brought to life and fleshed out by his Dad Meiks. And Matthew McConaughey’s sedate, psychotic Fenton.

  5. Loved this film when I saw it and was really impressed by how assured a piece of filmmaking it really was given that it was Paxton’s initial foray behind the camera. I do think that it maybe loses a little by losing some of its amiguity by the end, clearly coming down on one side of the argument shall we say. I have only ever seen this once and obviously as it’s so dark it is hard to want to see it again unless you’re in the right mood!
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    • Paxton had actually done a couple of shorts but SEVERAL years ago. I guess he just has the knack for directing.
      Definitely a “hard to consider re-watching” film.

      • Jack Deth says:

        Hi, iluv and all!

        Paxton directed a very nice period piece, ‘The Greatest Game Ever Played’. About the first amateur, a caddie, Shia LeBoeuf playing in the 1900 US Open golf tournament.

        Memorable for its take on the British class system versus upstart America and its many immigrants.

        Paxton definitely does have a talent behind the camera!

    • I totally agree with you folks on the “lack of re-watch-ability.” And not because it’s not brilliant, but because it’s creepy as you know what.
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  6. Great of you to featured this one – it was a really great psychological thriller, not a cult classic or anything like this, but definetly worth seeing.
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  7. I did see THE GREATEST GAME EVER PLAYED and had no idea who’d directed it – good to know. An enjoyable film and I’m not even a big golf fan. True story based on a terrific book that I have around here somewhere.

    But I don’t think I’ll be watching FRAILTY, thank you very much, Iba. 🙂
    I am so NOT a fan of horror, well-done or schlock. I am NEVER in the mood.
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    • I do recall you are not a fan of “the horror” genre. Yeah definitely skip this; but taken another way, Paxton is a very skilled and diverse filmmaker 🙂

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