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"FRAILTY"
(2002) (Bill Paxton, Matthew McConaughey) (R)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Mild Moderate Extreme Heavy Extreme
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Mild Minor Extreme None Heavy
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Minor Mild Heavy Moderate *Extreme


QUICK TAKE:
Suspense/Thriller: A man with knowledge of a present day serial killer recounts to the FBI agent in charge of the case his tale of growing up with a father who started killing people in the name of God.
PLOT:
Wesley Doyle (POWERS BOOTHE) is the FBI agent who's been working on the "God's Hand" serial murder cases that have been occurring in Texas. When a stranger (MATTHEW McCONAUGHEY) suddenly appears in his office one night and says that he knows the identity of the killer, the seasoned agent knows things are never that easy, but is nevertheless intrigued.

The man, who claims to be Fenton Meeks, states that the killer was his brother, Adam, who recently killed himself. Figuring he has to investigate such a claim, Doyle cuffs the man and they go for a drive in the direction of the Rose Garden where the victims' bodies are supposedly buried.

Along the way, the man recounts the story of his childhood that led up to this point. It seems that 12-year-old Fenton Meiks (MATT O'LEARY) and his 9-year-old brother, Adam (JEREMY SUMPTER), lived a relatively happy life with their single dad (BILL PAXTON). That is, until the father had a vision one night of an angel who informed him that God had chosen him to kill "demons" walking among them posing as humans.

While Adam believes his father, even when he starts to kill people on a "list" supposedly given to him by the angel, Fenton can't believe what's occurring. Even so, with no other family members to tell and nowhere to go, the boy feels trapped by what he sees as rampant insanity that's infected his dad and brother. As the man continues with his story of what happened then during his father's murder spree, he and Agent Doyle get closer to their destination and some surprising revelations.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
Those who are fans of suspense/thrillers or anyone in the cast might, but it's a good bet that most kids probably haven't heard much about this film.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: R
For violence and some language.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
To avoid giving away any late in the game surprises, some character behavior and attributes are not listed below.
  • BILL PAXTON plays a mechanic who's leading a normal life raising his two sons until he has a vision of an angel ordering him to kill demons. Completely believing that to be the truth and that he's not murdering real people, he then sets out to fulfill his holy mission. Accordingly, he kills various people in front of his young kids and tries to get them involved in his quest.
  • MATTHEW McCONAUGHEY plays one of his sons at an adult age who claims to know all about a recent serial murder spree.
  • POWERS BOOTHE plays a cautious FBI agent who drives him to a spot where he claims the victims' bodies are located. He uses some profanity.
  • MATT O'LEARY plays the homicidal father's oldest son who can't believe what his father is doing and tries to stop him in various ways.
  • JEREMY SUMPTER plays his younger brother who completely believes his father and participates in his quest.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    The following is a quick look at the content found in this R-rated thriller. Profanity consists of at least 6 uses of the "f" word (4 of which are muffled), along with a handful of other expletives and colorful phrases. Very brief, sexually related dialogue is also present.

    A father assaults, kidnaps and murders various people in the name of God (believing he's been told by an angel to kill demons posing as humans), but most of the actual killings occur just off camera (although we often hear the impact of an ax hitting the bodies). Some of the violence does occur on camera, however, and there are some bloody results. Those scenes and others may be unsettling, suspenseful or downright scary to some viewers.

    Various characters have varying degrees of bad attitudes (particularly the father killing people in front of his kids that he tries to get involved in his mission), the violence leads to some tense family moments, and some drinking and smoking occurs. Should you still be concerned about the film and its appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home, you may want to take a closer look at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • We see a man with a beer and another one beside him.
  • The boys' father has a beer, and later has another in front of him.
  • The father has a beer.
  • We see a young man drinking whiskey from a bottle.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • We see some black and white photos of human remains, some of them partially buried. We then see more photos, some in color, some in black and white of more murder victims, some of which are bloody.
  • The father has some blood on the back of his shirt.
  • We see some bloody blisters on Fenton's hands after his father makes him dig a big hole in the backyard.
  • We see some blood on a man's face, shirt and on an ax blade.
  • We hear the father vomiting.
  • A bound and gagged victim has some blood on his head.
  • A man has some blood on his shirt after being hit in the chest with an ax.
  • We see a flashback view of a person with head and neck wounds.
  • We see a flashback of a man killing a woman with a knife outside (with blood splattering onto a sheet on the clothesline as well as his face).
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • The father obviously has both types of attitudes for killing various innocent people and then forcing his sons to witness and then participate in the killings and burying of bodies. He also tells them that someone will die if they tell others, and blames a man's death on Fenton (for going to get help).
  • The boys, for varying reasons, eventually help their father in his quest to kill demons (murder people).
  • Some viewers might not like Fenton stating that he hated and despised God (due to how his father was using God as his reason for killing people) and/or that the father was killing in the name of God.
  • The father makes Fenton stay in a dark cellar for days as punishment until he believes in what the father is doing.
  • A man says "You f*cking bitch" to a woman.
  • We hear of other characters having bad attitudes or hurting others, including a man killing his own mother.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • A man pulls a gun from a drawer, puts it to his head, and we then hear the gunshot (but don't see anything).
  • Fenton spots his father returning home late at night carrying what looks like a body wrapped in canvas. We then see that the woman is still alive, but bloody, bound and gagged.
  • We then see an earlier scene where the father arrives at the above woman's house with a metal pipe. We then hear, but don't see him hit her. Back in the present, the father then approaches the woman and touches her, adversely reacting to what he says are her sins being revealed. We then see the sons' reaction to him killing her with an ax (which we don't see).
  • The father and his sons wait for their next victim in a parking lot. Fenton then reluctantly distracts the man that allows his father to strike him (not seen). When the father then touches that bound and gagged man in their woodshed, he reacts adversely just like in the above scene.
  • The father brings home his next victim and has her down in their recently dug cellar. He then wants Fenton to kill her, but Fenton can't and runs off to get the sheriff.
  • The sheriff then reluctantly returns with Fenton and we worry what the father might do to either of them.
  • The father hits a man several times with an ax (we don't see the impact) and then prepares to hit Fenton with a shovel, but Adam stops him.
  • The father tells Fenton to come into their shed at night and close the door, and we worry what might happen to the boy. He then makes Fenton stay in a dark cellar for days as punishment until he believes in what the father is doing.
  • The father's next victim, a large man, turns when the father is ready to strike him and hits the father instead. Fenton then hits that man on the head, allowing the father to then hit him as well. We then see that they have this man bound and gagged down in their cellar. We also see that Fenton is ready with the ax.
  • Fenton drives an ax into a man's chest (fatally wounding him).
  • We see a young man coming up behind another young man and then hear the impact of the first killing the second, but don't see it.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • A man pulls a gun from a drawer, puts it to his head, and we then hear the gunshot (but don't see anything).
  • Ax/Metal Pipe: Used by the father and others to injure and kill various people.
  • Handgun: Held by Agent Doyle on a man.
  • Knife: Seen in a flashback of a man killing a woman.
  • FBI agents burst into a house with their guns (automatic weapons and handguns) drawn.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "You f*cking bitch," "I don't really give a f*ck," "Bullsh*t," "You damn sure should be" and "Butt-hole."
  • It's possible some impressionable kids/teens could get the idea to kill (or do other less severe things) in the name of religion (using the "God told me to" defense).
  • JUMP SCENES
  • Adam runs up and kills a man with an ax (we don't see the impact).
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • An extreme amount of suspenseful and ominous music plays in the film.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 6 "f" words (4 are muffled by a character with tape over his mouth), 1 "s" word, 2 slang terms for breasts ("t*ts"), 3 damns, 2 S.O.B.s, 3 uses of "G-damn" and 1 use each of "Jesus Christ" and "Oh my God" as exclamations.
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • An older boy mentions he'd do anything to see the "t*ts" of the Daisy Duke character on the old TV show "The Dukes of Hazzard."
  • SMOKING
  • The father smokes several times.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • We hear that Adam and Fenton's mother died giving birth to Adam.
  • The father's sudden behavior and actions put a strain on his relationship with Fenton, causing the boy to want to run away.
  • Agent Doyle says that his mother was killed a few days after a picture he has of her was taken.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • The boys' father's belief that he was killing demons and not actually murdering people.
  • The father's use of religion to defend/explain his actions.
  • Fenton wanting to run away from home due to his father's behavior and actions.
  • What the filmmakers' ultimate point of the story was (whether the murderous actions were the result of insanity or divine intervention).
  • VIOLENCE
  • While various people are killed, most of the deaths occur just off camera.
  • A man pulls a gun from a drawer, puts it to his head, and we then hear the gunshot (but don't see anything).
  • Fenton spots his father returning home late at night carrying what looks like a body wrapped in canvas. We then see that the woman is still alive, but bloody, bound and gagged. We then see an earlier scene where the father arrives at the above woman's house with a metal pipe. We then hear, but don't see him hit her. Back in the present, the father then approaches the woman and touches her, adversely reacting to what he says are her sins being revealed. We then see the sons' reaction to him killing her with an ax (which we don't see). We also see Adam throwing a bag (presumably holding part of the body) into a grave (indicating the body, or part of it, was chopped up).
  • The father hits his next victim on the head, but we don't see the impact. Later, we hear the impact of him hitting the man with an ax, but we don't see it (although his boys do).
  • We hear the impact of a man being hit with an ax and then see him fall down some stairs into a cellar. We then hear another impact of the ax.
  • The father grabs Fenton as he tries to leave and then carries him down into a cellar where he then traps him for days.
  • The father's next victim, a large man, turns when the father is ready to strike him and hits the father instead. Fenton then hits that man on the head, allowing the father to then hit him as well. We then see that they have this man bound and gagged down in their cellar.
  • Fenton drives an ax into a man's chest (fatally wounding him).
  • Adam runs up and kills a man with an ax (we don't see the impact).
  • We see a young man coming up behind another young man and then hear the impact of the first killing the second, but don't see it.
  • We see a flashback view of a person with head and neck wounds and then of a kid being dragged out of car.
  • A man tries to hit another man, but the second man stops him.
  • We see a flashback of a man killing a woman with a knife outside (with blood splattering onto a sheet on the clothesline as well as his face).
  • A man does something to hurt another man and then throws him down into a grave. He then raises an ax and apparently kills the man with it.
  • FBI agents burst into a house with their weapons drawn.



  • Reviewed March 18, 2002 / Posted April 12, 2002

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