Generally favorable reviews - based on 32 Critics

Critic 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. Reviewed by: Robert Koehler
    A resoundingly old-fashioned and well crafted study of evil infecting an American family, Frailty moves from strength to strength on its deceptive narrative course.
  3. Paxton's Dad may be the most terrifying father to appear in a horror film since Jack Nicholson went crazily homicidal in "The Shining."
  4. 88
    Genuinely creepy Southern Gothic thriller that once again proves that in horror movies, sometimes less is actually more.
  5. Reviewed by: Hank Sartin
    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.
  6. Reviewed by: Clint Morris
    So immodestly unripe; yet so horrendously tempting you’ll find it hard to resist.
  7. Well-crafted, disturbing Texas gothic thriller, a completely spooky piece of business that gets under your skin and, some plot blips aside, stays there for the duration.
  8. It's a small, unassuming movie grasping at whole-hog homo psychopathicus, with its feet planted squarely in Texan grave dirt and its head lost in the ether of Christian derangement.
  9. The film becomes cumulatively stranger as it goes along, and it has a lulu of a kicker.
  10. Against all odds in heaven and hell, it creeped me out just fine.
  11. 75
    It's the cinematic equivalent of a good page-turner, and even if it's nonsense, its claws dig surprisingly deep.
  12. You'll depart with memories of a well-crafted study in quiet horror, and with ideas whirling in your head about the nature of evil and what happens to children caught in its grip.
  13. Somber and violent but undeniably stylish and unsettling thriller.
  14. May leave you more cold and stunned than enlightened.
  15. Reviewed by: David Edelstein
    You have to give credit to Frailty for jiggering up the formula a bit, so that what starts as an ominously low-key study of a boy coming of age with a mad father escalates into a combination of "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" and "Breaking the Waves" -- Grand Guignol religiosity.
  16. Chills to the bone -- and beyond, but for pure excitement it's best not to look far beneath the surface.
  17. Most of Frailty is so good -- done in a low-key, realistic mood of genuine creepiness and dread -- that it doesn't need formula shocks.
  18. 63
    As disappointing as the wrap-up is, it can't erase the chilling psychological warfare that represents the majority of what precedes it.
  19. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    The payoff isn't worth the time invested, but at least the actor-turned-filmmaker underplays an inherently queasy project that could have been over the top.
  20. 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.
  21. 60
    Paxton is impressively subtle and elicits remarkable performances from O'Leary and Sumpter.
  22. 60
    Starts out, and ends up, as a thriller trying valiantly to show us layers of moral depth. But in between that beginning and ending, Paxton's vision (as well as that of Brent Hanley, who wrote the script) becomes wavy and indistinct, a blurry muddle of sensationalistic, prurient grisliness masquerading as a meditation on the nature of evil.
  23. There's a good little psychological thriller buried underneath all the manufactured shocks, in the story of a powerless child standing alone against a parent's mental illness.
  24. Like so many other allegedly scary movies, it gets so tangled up in The Twist that it chokes the energy right out of the very audience it seeks to frighten.
  25. Reviewed by: Sam Allis
    Murder should either be unsparingly real or kitschy like the ''Texas Chainsaw Massacre.'' This is neither.
  26. 50
    The story sounds horrifying, but the film takes some unfortunate twists and never presents us with a multifaceted character in Paxton. Paxton just doesn't play the nice-but-nuts role with a modicum of terror.
  27. This is a guy movie, a gothic creepshow.
  28. 40
    When the twists arrive, they feel like much of the film: creepy and cliché-free, but still terribly wrong.
  29. The movie is so disturbing that it seems nearly blasphemous. I wouldn't wish it on an anthrax spore. After all, anthrax has feelings, too.
  30. Reviewed by: Carla Meyer
    Dumb but also unrelentingly dark and ugly, thereby depriving the viewer of any camp value.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 105 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 24 out of 38
  2. Negative: 7 out of 38
  1. May 24, 2013
    Having terrorised a small Texan town years before, the God's Hand Killer has returned leaving many more victims. Late at night Fenton MeiksHaving terrorised a small Texan town years before, the God's Hand Killer has returned leaving many more victims. Late at night Fenton Meiks arrives at FBI Headquarters claiming he knows the killers identity and so, in order to convince Agent Doyle Fenton, returns to the beginning of a story that started with his father.

    Frailty doesnt rely on blood and gore to produce its shocks instead choosing to gradually explore the relationship between Meiks, his brother and his father. The story that builds is truly gripping as we learn the origin of the Gods Hand Killer and start to understand how Meiks knows as much as he does. Thankfully the finale is able to match the rest of the film making for one of the most underrated thrillers in recent times.
    Full Review »
  2. Dec 30, 2011
    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. Full Review »
  3. Apr 14, 2011

    I wasn't sure what I was getting myself into when I was suggested this movie and

    I wasn't sure what I was getting myself into when I was suggested this movie and decided to watch it. When I was suggested it I looked it up and discovered it was a thriller about a serial killer, I'm game! One of my favorite genres so I of course gave it a shot.

    From the start I was a little skeptical. The first few scenes the acting was pretty spotty actually and it made me heavily doubt this movie. However, then the meat of the movie started to roll in and I could see the shining spots. This movie excelled, and I mean excelled, when it came to plot twists and overall story line.

    The basic storyline for those who don't know this movie already follows a man who comes into the FBI and says he knows the identity of a serial killer. He then goes on to explain the story of how when he was young, his father saw a vision from God who told him to destroy "demons" and then went on to capture these demons and kill them in front of them and have them partake. Sounds simple enough but the way it was shown on camera and story wise was phenomenal. They did it so well I felt at times like I completely understood where the dad was coming from and didn't feel the typical hatred for him. So that was a major change in a movie personality for me. Here is this guy who they are showing to be completely rational at first, who goes "crazy" but then make you doubt that he's crazy at all and is actually justified!

    Then the movie goes even further and introduces you two huge twists at the end which I won't spoil but I will say that you really need to see this movie. I feel it changed my perception on the whole aspect of serial killing. Not that I find it justifiable now but the fact that the movie portrayed them having in their mind, completely rational reasons and didn't even think they were killing people. Huge mind benders in this movie, don't let the poor acting scare you off.
    Full Review »