Frailty is a psychology thriller, horror movie of subtly that creeps up on the viewer. Frailty is about what type of person could be standing next to you, faith, religion and God’s will, whether that is only in your head or externally happening. Matthew McConaughey and Powers Boothe have the most intriguing characters in the film, Fenton Meiks and FBI Special Agent Wesley Doyle respectively, though the viewer would not know it at first glance. Bill Paxton is the third most interesting but in many ways, I can see how he would be the first in many people’s eyes. Paxton plays your Average Joe father who believes he has experienced something unprecedented, life altering. That event changes the dynamic of his family, strengthening the bond between one son Adam (Jeremy Sumpter) and while detrimental affecting the other, Fenton (Matt O’Leary). It is these effects that make Frailty standout, along with its ominous score by Brian Tyler, because the past directly effects what the viewer is seeing in present time and the personalities of the characters that exist there. Forethought of this nature is rare in a horror movie script.
The Making of Frailty
During The Making of Frailty documentary, the viewer learns that two of the main actors in the film, Boothe and McConaughey, are natives of Texas, the setting for Frailty in 2001 and 1979. The viewer is introduced to Frailty writer Brent Hanley and Hanley discusses what inspired the film (the Texas bible belt and The Book of Revelations). More notably, the viewer is also introduced to Frailty Director of Photography Bill Butler, who “conducts” like Leopold Stokowski when all of his elements are in order and moving coterminous during a scene.
Anatomy of a Scene
The Anatomy of a Scene segment is an analysis of the car ride scene in Frailty and is presented by Sundance. This Frailty special feature discusses the tension inherent to the scene. Bill Butler discusses the Poor Man’s Process for creating certain effects in Frailty and Bill Paxton talks about the creative transitions in the script and storyboards that had to be created for scenes to be effective. Editing, Production Design, and Wrap further break down this special feature.
The Bible deleted scene shows young Fenton trying to find passages in the bible to refute his father’s belief in his supposed celestial mandate. The Tape was the weakest of the three deleted scenes and was excised because it lowered the momentum of the film. Digging is basically an extension of the Fenton digging scenes present in the film and shows Fenton angry with his father.
Audio Commentary with Director Bill Paxton
As Frailty plays, director Bill Paxton chimes in where on-screen elements came from, such as the title sequence images, and what is going on in the scenes throughout the film. Paxton discusses the power play between Fenton Meiks and FBI Special Agent Wesley Doyle. He also goes into the internal struggle that his character endures during the film.
Frailty is an often over looked horror film and psychology thriller and undeservedly so. Frailty is solid in all areas. Paxton did a great job with the film, especially for his first time behind the camera and the film’s presentation on Blu-ray is excellent.