Metascore
64

Generally favorable reviews - based on 32 Critics What's this?

User Score
8.3

Universal acclaim- based on 112 Ratings

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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 20 out of 32
  2. Negative: 2 out of 32
  1. 100
    Andrea Yates believed she was possessed by Satan and could save her children by drowning them. Frailty is as chilling.
  2. The film becomes cumulatively stranger as it goes along, and it has a lulu of a kicker.
  3. Reviewed by: Hank Sartin
    80
    It's good old-fashioned rural gothic that would make Flannery O'Connor proud, with tricky switcheroos that keep shaking up our assumptions about what's going on.
  4. Chills to the bone -- and beyond, but for pure excitement it's best not to look far beneath the surface.
  5. 60
    Audiences are destined to debate the film's final scenes, where Hanley piles on plot twists, leading to a coda that turns a creepily ambiguous story about God and the terrifying power of paternal love into something closer to an X-File.
  6. Reviewed by: Carla Meyer
    0
    Dumb but also unrelentingly dark and ugly, thereby depriving the viewer of any camp value.

See all 32 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 24 out of 38
  2. Negative: 7 out of 38
  1. Sep 21, 2014
    10
    Just saw this on TV after it was recommended by 'Mystery Exec" on twitter. Excellent thriller. Great performances from Bill Paxton and MatthewJust saw this on TV after it was recommended by 'Mystery Exec" on twitter. Excellent thriller. Great performances from Bill Paxton and Matthew McConaughey. Bill Paxton should direct again. Strange it got such poor reviews when it came out. Only Ebert seems to have seen what a compelling film it is. Expand
  2. GeorgeS.
    Nov 14, 2005
    10
    Even though I have rated a good 15 movies in the last 10 minutes the truth is I really don't like a Numbered rating system. that 10 is Even though I have rated a good 15 movies in the last 10 minutes the truth is I really don't like a Numbered rating system. that 10 is for being able to scare the living crap out of me without being overly graphic. The movie itself something like a 9.2 but the story although not the most clean and polished one of the best movies I have ever seen for messing with your head. up there with Identity and Memento. Expand
  3. Dec 30, 2011
    9
    A film that is like many other crime dramas but with a dark scary twist to it. Every scene in this film is important. The film flows veryA film that is like many other crime dramas but with a dark scary twist to it. Every scene in this film is important. The film flows very smoothly and the shocking finish fits perfectly with the past events that have already occured in the film. Unlike many other films this ending was necessary for the story and it's themes. The question i'm still pondering at the end of the film is if Adam Meekes is a hero or if Fenton was right. The film does lean towards one side but there is still room for Fenton's perspective. Expand
  4. Sep 2, 2011
    7
    This is a good film.. i thought that the plot was well thought out and it's a very interesting film to watch. the ending is very clever and iThis is a good film.. i thought that the plot was well thought out and it's a very interesting film to watch. the ending is very clever and i liked this film a lot. whilst the film's plot twist is obvious from the beginning it's still very gripping Expand
  5. Aug 8, 2011
    5
    This movie is fairly interesting, however, the ending is very disturbing because I am an agnostic. I do not deny the existence of god but IThis movie is fairly interesting, however, the ending is very disturbing because I am an agnostic. I do not deny the existence of god but I also have seen no proof, ergo the ending would be disturbing to a logical person. Expand
  6. Dec 2, 2010
    4
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Starts out as a good psychological and moral chiller which ends up with a drawn out disappointing ending with one plot twist too many. Paxtons descent into apparent insanity is too quick, and an attractive idea that can be taken from the film which is the greatest evil comes from men who believe that they are doing good is swiftly destroyed with the reveal that it was God all along taking with it themes that could have been explored of sibling rivalry and family loyalty. Had the writer kept his feet on the ground this could have been so much better. Instead the script starts to implode leaving you wondering why you bothered in the first place. Expand
  7. DHE
    Dec 3, 2011
    2
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. A bait-and-switch contrivance of the worst kind. (Is there a good kind?) The creepy religious weirdness that characterized the bulk of the movie was an accurate - and disturbing - cautionary tale about how faith and belief untethered to objective reality morphs seamlessly into bat-**** crazy. Unfortunately, there are plenty of people like those depicted in the film (some of them are currently running for president), so the apparent message of the film would have seemed to be: watch out for nut-jobs masquerading as good God-fearing people. I say apparent because this prevailing theme gives way in the end to its opposite. Namely, no matter how crazy you thought these people were, you were wrong: they were actually doing God's handiwork. Really. So I guess regardless of how irrational people might seem, who knows, they may just be taking orders from God. This is not a plot twist; it's a plot reversal. Or a sick joke. If you're truly religious, I don't see how you could make it through most of this movie. If you're not, you'll be thoroughly disgusted with the ending. If you're neither, maybe this is the movie for you. Expand

See all 38 User Reviews

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