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. Paxton's Dad may be the most terrifying father to appear in a horror film since Jack Nicholson went crazily homicidal in "The Shining."
  3. 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.
  4. 88
    Genuinely creepy Southern Gothic thriller that once again proves that in horror movies, sometimes less is actually more.
  5. Reviewed by: Clint Morris
    So immodestly unripe; yet so horrendously tempting you’ll find it hard to resist.
  6. The film becomes cumulatively stranger as it goes along, and it has a lulu of a kicker.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 75
    It's the cinematic equivalent of a good page-turner, and even if it's nonsense, its claws dig surprisingly deep.
  11. 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.
  12. Against all odds in heaven and hell, it creeped me out just fine.
  13. Somber and violent but undeniably stylish and unsettling thriller.
  14. 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.
  15. May leave you more cold and stunned than enlightened.
  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. 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.
  19. 63
    As disappointing as the wrap-up is, it can't erase the chilling psychological warfare that represents the majority of what precedes it.
  20. 60
    Paxton is impressively subtle and elicits remarkable performances from O'Leary and Sumpter.
  21. 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.
  22. 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.
  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. Reviewed by: Sam Allis
    Murder should either be unsparingly real or kitschy like the ''Texas Chainsaw Massacre.'' This is neither.
  25. This is a guy movie, a gothic creepshow.
  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. 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.
  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

Generally favorable reviews- based on 59 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 24 out of 37
  2. Negative: 6 out of 37
  1. Aug 8, 2011
    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 I also have seen no proof, ergo the ending would be disturbing to a logical person. Full Review »
  2. 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 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 »
  3. Mar 17, 2013
    One of the best thrillers ever Full Review »