Frailty (2001)


Fenton Meiks (Matthew McConaughey) enters the offices of FBI Agent Wesley Doyle (Powers Boothe). Fenton wants to tell Agent Doyle the information he has on the serial killer the FBI are looking for called the God’s Hand Killer. Fenton tells Doyle that his recently deceased brother Adam is the killer they’re looking for. Agent Doyle asks Fenton how he knows this for certain. Fenton begins by telling Doyle about his father who claimed he had god given powers to see the demons inside ordinary people, and that it was his job to kill them.


Dad Meiks (Bill Paxton) wakes his young children Fenton and Adam to tell them that an angel visited him in the night. He claimed the angel would give him the power to see the demons inside people and the sins they have committed. The angel also said that Dad would be given tools to help him incapacitate, transport and kill the demons with. Dad would get a name of a demon and find them. He would then touch them and see what they’ve done. The tool he would use to stun them was a metal pole. He would then have to put on gloves to carry them so that he wouldn’t keep seeing their sins. Finally he’d use an axe to kill and dismember the bodies. In order to do this in secret, Dad Meiks has his boys dig a hole in the yard which they can kill in private.


Young Adam believes his dad has the powers that he claims to have, however young Fenton is not so sure. Fenton thinks his dad is crazy and his making this up. This worry is exacerbated when Dad Meiks claims that the name the angel has given to him is Fenton’s, but that he can’t believe it and thinks he can change the doubts Fenton is having. As thing progress Fenton begins to fear for his life and the safety of any further targets his father claims are demons. Back in the present time Doyle finds the whole story fanciful. However there is one last twist in the tale. You’ll have to watch it to find out.


This fantastic thriller was directed by Bill Paxton. To my knowledge he has only directed this and one other feature. Based on this film, it’s a shame he doesn’t direct more movies as it really is fantastic. Bill Paxton is on top form as Dad Meiks. Powers Boothe is great as Agent Doyle who really doesn’t buy the story he’s being told, and Matthew McConaughey is great as Fenton Meiks. I know many people haven’t seen this as it was in and out of the cinema faster than a rat up a drainpipe. It is well worth tracking down and watching, the twist is amazing and you won’t see it coming. The definition of cult cinema.






Southern Comfort (1981)


A weekend of training exercises turns into a frantic fight for survival when a group of National Guardsmen anger the local Cajun’s in the swamps of Louisiana. They are led out by Poole (Peter Coyote) who is taking them down to the swamps for some serious Army exercises, getting them ready should they ever be needed. Things go awry however when they steal some canoes to help them get down the river. Whilst inside the canoes, one of the men thinks it funny to shoot blank bullets at some Cajun fishermen, not realising the dreadful events they have set in motion.


With no live ammunition to aid them, then group of men find themselves fighting for their lives. Hunted by the locals in a terrain they have no knowledge of, the men are picked off one at a time and must learn to work together if they have any hope of coming out alive. However some of the men let fear and panic take over, making it harder for them to work as a group.


Two of the men Spencer (Keith Carradine) and Hardin (Powers Boothe) seem to bet the only two guardsmen who realise the magnitude of the situation the men find themselves in. This film was viewed as an allegory on Vietnam on it’s release. Directed by the brilliant Walter Hill (The Warriors), it showed that the same lack of respect the Americans showed the Vietnamese, is the same thing that will get these National Guardsmen killed if they don’t treat the Cajun’s with respect.


This is a riveting piece of cinema. I remember first watching it with my Dad and just loving it. It was nail bitingly tense and the cast were amazing. There are a lot of recognisable faces in the supporting cast and it’s fun spotting who’s who. This is well worth a watch.