It took me a few years to finally see Frailty after its initial release. When I first saw the cover in the local video rental stores I was wary, because it was made to sounds like it would have a religious angle to it and that made me not want to rent it initially. After reading about it a few years later, I finally watched it for the first time. I was a fan of it as soon as I finished my initial viewing.
I didn’t even realize that Bill Paxton directed Frailty when I watched it the first time. That was before I paid a lot of attention to both writers and directors of everything that I watched. This was a hell of a movie to make your directorial debut and that’s exactly what Paxton did. Brent Hanley wrote an interesting script that was turned into a hell of a movie. The story has several twists that you don’t see coming during the first viewing. Its an interesting mix of religious horror and film noir elements with a strong splash of southern gothic elements.
Bill Paxton, Matthew McConaughey, and Powers Boothe get the most screentime. Luke Askew, Jeremy Sumpter, and Matt O’Leary round out the main cast. I really want to talk about McConaughey’s performance in Frailty. You get hints at the kinds of performances that he would be known for later in his career. I was blown away rewatching his performance because it was around the time this movie came out that he began starring in cookie cutter rom coms, which made him a joke to certain people. Paxton’s performance is fantastic and even more so when you realize that he was directing the movie on top of the performance. Both Sumpter and O’Leary put in amazing performances even if they weren’t kids.
The visual effects are subtle but used to maximum effect. The set designer did an amazing job, especially during the parts of the movie set in the late 70s. The same goes for the costume designer. Everything in the movie works so well together to sell the different time periods. Brian Tyler’s score is fantastic. The music pulls at your heartstrings and then goes into discordant chaos and everything in between.
Frailty is a hell of a movie that will keep you on the edge of your seat. This doesn’t get talked about as much as I feel like it should. I know it gets some love from people in the horror community, but it doesn’t get mentioned by anyone outside of there often, if at all. I gave it a rewatch on HBO Max since its supposed to be leaving on April 30, 2023. I give Frailty 8 axes out of 10. [kofi]