Gimmick Me More

Patient: Frailty

Profile: Dark, tense, very effective suspense/horror film about serial killing in the name of God (where do they come up with this stuff?). Man believes the Almighty has given him the power to see “demons” and has commanded him to wreak havoc upon the populace—you know, like the cardinal of Boston—using children's trust in him to manipulate them into helping him carry out his evil deeds—the killer, not the cardinal. Think Dead Zonemeets Demons Are Forever meets Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer meets Because I Said So: The Baltimore Catechism Story. (Perceived) Symptoms: Really liked this movie, but I feel compelled to write about it since many of my colleagues misdiagnosed it as being gimmicky and overly laden with plot twists. Most agree the film is well-paced, building tension as the man methodically prepares himself and his kids for a reign of terror with the wholesome enthusiasm that usually accompanies a camping trip. There are some who believe the film is too intense and object to the psychological oppression of children. But the fact is this kind of abhorrent behavior does exist, and anyone who thinks otherwise has never seen a Kathie Lee Christmas special. As for those who believe that Frailty was out-usualling The Usual Suspects I have penned my response below, cleverly hiding any specifics in the plot for those who haven't yet seen the film.

Script Doctor Diagnosis:Were you watching the same movie to which I was soiling myself? (Viewer's) Prescription: The first criticism is that the main guy isn't who he claimed to be all along but the other guy—which I figured out because the other guy had brown stuff—what's more, we find out that the other guy hadn't thinged himself, but had in fact been thinged. What's more, you say it's just too convenient that the dude the guy lures out to the place had you-know'd his so-and-so—and just three days after getting out of the academy! Dude! And what about the videotape? But that's the whole point. This isn't some coincidence or happenstance; nor is it fluke, quirk or a fine how-do-you-do. The guy pretending to be the other guy has set up this entire scenario: this has been planned. What's more, to believe the final outcome, you must believe that the guy really can do what he said he can do. Does it make sense that he can do it? In the real world, perhaps not. But that doesn't matter. What matters is that the filmmaker set up a scenario that would seem plausible within the universe of their story, which in this case I believe it does. I mean, does the Wizard of Oz make sense? If you're not heavily medicated? Does it make sense that Catherine Zeta-Jones would have a baby with Michael Douglas in . . . oh, what was the name of that horror flick? Scary as hell.

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