Sunday, March 20, 2011

Horror Film Review

Fragile (2005):  Haunted house flick!  And it doesn't suck!  From the opening shot, from the very first second, I knew I'd be hooked.  Evil ghosts rock...

Okay, so it's not a house but rather a broken down children's hospital in the middle of nowhere on the Isle of Wight that's in the process of closing.  It could probably be more remote, although you'd have to go to Siberia or maybe the moon.  Why are old dilapidated hospitals so damned creepy?  They always seem to be in an advanced state of decay.  And why creepy to the third power if kids are involved?

Here's the quick scoop:  Amy (Calista Flockhart) is hired as the new night nurse at Mercy Falls Children's Hospital after the previous nurse, Susan (Susie Trayling), quit.  We see why in the opening minutes.  One of the sick kids, Maggie (Yasmin Murphy) insists she sees a "mechanical girl" called Charlotte who has been hurting the other children.  Other staff think she's nutty.  This is Amy's first gig after a kid died under her care.  She blames herself, of course, and so latches on to Maggie in a "I won't fail you" way.  Then some staff die mysteriously, and hunky British doc Robert (Richard Roxburgh) finally starts to believe her.  Turns out that 50 years ago a girl with brittle bone disease was murdered by a psycho nurse who had developed a morbid obsession with her.  Now, whatever is living on the hospital's abandoned 2nd floor has fixated on Maggie and doesn't want her to leave.

There are some twists and turns I won't divulge, but I will say that when we finally do see the ghost, it's one of the most wonderfully disturbing and scary things I've even seen. It was a genuine "holy crap!" moment.  Love those. 


Acting:  Everyone's a pro and not a ham in the bunch. 
Story:  Nothing new here.  It doesn't matter, though. 
Direction:  Jaume Balaguero is behind [REC] and its American remake Quarantine (my favorite non-zombie, zombie flick) so the guy seriously knows his stuff. 
Production Values:  Location shooting on the Isle of Wight...yeah, the film looks good.  And the 2nd floor of the hospital...jeez.  It's the stuff of nightmares.
Gore/FX:  Not much blood to speak of.  Most of the FX are related to the angry ghost and they're superb.
Ending:  It ended how it had to end.  Some movies are like that.  In this case, it worked well.
Verdict:  Should you watch Fragile?  Yep.  It ranks up there with The Changeling (and that's saying something).

My Rating:  4 out of 5

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