Frailty (film)

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Frailty is a 2001 psychological thriller film about a man who confesses to an FBI agent his family's story of how his religious fanatic father's visions lead to a series of murders to destroy supposed "demons."

Directed by Bill Paxton. Written by Brent Hanley
No Soul Is Safe taglines

Fenton Meiks[edit]

  • [voiceover] Dad told us that there were moments when people could just disappear without anyone knowing where they went or why. He said those were the moments when God's Hands could take you. According to Dad, nothing, not even a camera, could catch us. We were invisible when we were God's Hands.
  • [voiceover] The dream had finally ended. It was all real. And I had to stop him. The obvious answer was to tell someone what he was planning. But I couldn't do that. I loved him even if he had gone crazy.
  • [to Adam] It's all a big lie, you hear me? I think we need to run away, just for a little while. Until he gets better. Sooner or later Dad's gonna kill somebody and you know it.

Dialogue[edit]

Fenton: My name's Fenton Meiks. Now listen, this may sound a little bit crazy but...I know who the "God's Hand" killer is.
Agent Doyle: All right, I'll bite. Who?
Fenton: You haven't even heard me out yet and already you doubt me. Why is that?
Agent Doyle: Because in a case like this nobody just walks in the office and tells you who the killer is. It doesn't happen that way.
Fenton: Sometimes truth defies reason.
Agent Doyle: Yeah? So who is it then?
Fenton: My brother.

Dad: Fenton, wake up.
Fenton: Dad?
Dad: I've got something to tell you.
Fenton: What's wrong?
Dad: It's okay. Adam, wake up and listen. I need you both to listen to me very carefully. Something's happened.
Fenton: [voiceover] He said he'd had a vision that night. A vision from God. An angel came to him and told him the truth of this world and revealed God's special purpose for our family.
Dad: The end of the world is coming. It's near. The angel showed me. There are demons among us. The devil has released them for the final battle. It's being fought right now. But nobody knows it except us and others like us.
Adam: I'm scared, Dad.
Dad: There's nothing to be afraid of, Tiger. We've been chosen by God. He will protect us. He's given us special jobs to do. We don't fear these demons, we destroy them. We pick them up one by one, and we pitch them out of this world. That's God's purpose for us. The angel called us "God's Hands."
Adam: So we're like superheroes?
Dad: That's right. We're a family of superheroes that are gonna help save the world.
Fenton: But, Dad, that doesn't make any sense.
Dad: I know it sounds that way, son, but it's the truth.
Adam: So what are our superpowers?
Dad: Well...we can see the demons while other people can't. The angel told me God would send us seven weapons to destroy them with.
Adam: Magical weapons?
Dad: I imagine so.
Adam: When do we get them?
Dad: I don't know. The angel just said soon. That's all I was told, except we're not supposed to tell anybody. Absolutely no one. If we do, we put them and ourselves in danger. Fenton? Don't worry, it's okay. It's a lot to understand. I waited to tell you until I had a chance to figure it out myself. But the angel said I had to do it now. Fenton?
Fenton: [voiceover] I didn't know what to say or how to feel.
Dad: Do you understand what I told you? Judgment Day is here.
Fenton: [voiceover] It was too messed up to understand or even acknowledge.
Dad: Soon we'll all be in Heaven. You, me, Adam. With Mommy.
Fenton: [voiceover] I didn't realize it at the moment, at least not consciously...
Dad: She's waiting to see us in Heaven.
Fenton: [voiceover] But my happy and mostly secure world had just been flipped over. And there were dark things there.
Dad: Judgment Day is here.
Fenton: [voiceover] Very dark things.
Dad: We've been chosen by God.
Fenton: [voiceover] And my little boy's mind just couldn't take it.

Fenton: Dad, these are people's names!
Dad: That's right. And they'll look like people too. But they're not. The angel said when I lay my hands on them I'll reveal them for what they truly are.

Adam: Dad?
Dad: Come on out here, Adam. [turns to Fenton] Shine that light over here.
Adam: Hey dad, who is that?
Dad: That's a demon, son. Come on in here, boys, it's all right. Come on, don't be afraid. [closes them in the shed as the boys stare, frightened and stunned]
Fenton: [voiceover] God had come to Dad earlier that day and told him that the time had come. After work he drove down to Jacksonville, about forty-five minutes or so southwest of Thurman. He said he had never been there before but he had no trouble finding it, God was leading him.
Dad: [watching the woman walk outside her front door] Cynthia Harbridge?
Cynthia Harbridge: [turning around surprised] Yes?
[Dad then hits her in the head with the metal pipe]
Fenton: [Dad grabs for the ax] Dad don't! Please don't!
Dad: Fenton, if I could spare you of this I would. But we are God's servants, and his will must be served! Don't be afraid, son.

Dad: [burying Cynthia] No, Adam. Do it like this. It's got to be done a certain way. The Angel was real specific.
Adam: Why out here in the Rose Garden?
Dad: God chose it, just like he chose us, I suppose. Don't cry for her, Fenton. She wasn't human. Didn't you see when I touched her?
Adam: I saw it, Dad.
Fenton: You killed her.
Dad: I didn't kill her, son. I destroyed her. She was a demon. You know, I wasn't so sure I could do it myself. I mean, she looked like a woman to me too. But after I touched her, all I could see was the evil. And I had to do it. I'm sorry you didn't see it too. You will next time.
Fenton: You... you're gonna do it again?
Dad: This is our job now, son. You've got to accept that.
Fenton: I won't let you.
Dad: We are doing God's work here.
Fenton: I'll tell.
Dad: If you do, someone will die. The angel was clear on that. Do you understand? Answer me, Fenton. Do you understand?

Adam: Dad, look, I got a list too.
Dad: Where did you get this, Adam?
Adam: God gave it to me.
Dad: Isn't Travis Shed that boy that was picking on you at school last week?
Adam: He's a demon.
Dad: Tell the truth, Adam. You made this list up yourself, didn't you?
Adam: No, God did.
Dad: Adam? Come on, right here. Now, listen to me, son. You can't make stuff like that up. We destroy demons. If we were to use your list, we'd be killing people. And we can never do that. Now, destroying demons is a good thing. Killing people is bad. You understand?
Adam: I'm sorry, Dad.
Dad: That's all right. It's okay. You just got to have a little patience. Don't worry. God will send you your own list when you're older.

Dad: [after killing a man] I still can't believe you didn't see it. He was a murderer of little children, Fenton. Babies... babies.
[Dad walks off]
Fenton: He's the murderer. We got to get out of here, Adam.
Adam: What do you mean?
Fenton: We gotta run away. I told you we were gonna have to.
Adam: I don't want to run away.
Fenton: We have to.
Adam: Why?
Fenton: Listen to me, Adam... Dad kills people.
Adam: No he doesn't! He's a demon slayer.
Fenton: That's all lies, Adam.
Adam: No, it's not, I see it when he touches them.
Fenton: No, you don't. Dad's brainwashed you, it's all a big lie. He's a murderer and you help him.
Adam: Nuh-uh! We're just serving God's will. I'm telling Dad on you!

Dad: Do you see what you made me do? You made me commit murder...
Fenton: I didn't make you do anything. You did! You're crazy!
Dad: I never committed murder before.
Fenton: I've seen you murder lots of people.
Dad: Those weren't people, son. They were demons.
Fenton: No they weren't!
Dad: That man is dead, and it's your fault. You killed him because you have no faith.

Dad: I want you to know, I've never killed anything in my whole life.
Fenton: That's a lie and you know it.
Dad: I did a lot of thinking and praying after you went to bed. I asked the Angel to visit you, instead he visited me. He told me something... that I don't want to believe.
Fenton: What?
Dad: It doesn't matter, because together you and I are going to prove him wrong. You just don't have any faith, that's why you can't see the truth. But we're going to change that.
[Dad and Fenton stand outside next to the backyard shed]
Dad: I want you to dig a hole right here. It needs to be about ten feet deep, fifteen feet wide on both sides. The length and width should form a perfect square.
Fenton: What?
Dad: You heard me.
Fenton: Why?
Dad: Because I'm your father and you do what I tell you. Understand? Do you?
Fenton: Yes sir.
Dad: Alright then, I expect half that to be done by the time I get home from work tonight.
Fenton: Dad, I can't do that.
Dad: Pray!
Fenton: [voiceover] I started digging that goddamn hole, but I did not pray. I would not. I hated God, I despised him. My hatred helped me dig, kept me going. Dad's, or God's, or the Angel's or whoever's plan it was would not work on me. I knew what Dad was doing was wrong, and nothing was gonna change that.

Dad: Come in and close the door. Are you afraid?
[Fenton nods]
Dad: Of who?
Fenton: You
Dad: Only demons should fear me... and you're not a demon are you? The angel said you were. But I can't believe that. I won't. You're my son. And I love you more than my own life. You know what's funny about all this, Fenton? I'm afraid of you.

Dad: Has God spoken to you yet?
Fenton: [bitterly] There is no God.

Agent Doyle: Is everything you just told me true?
Adam: Why would I make it up?
Agent Doyle: I just can't imagine how you'd keep something like that inside for so long.
Adam: I guess I avoided it because I wanted to. [pause] You know, you never did tell me why it is you just keep that one picture of your mother in your office.
Agent Doyle: My mother was murdered a couple days after that picture was taken. Butchered by some wacked-out killer like your dad.
Adam: Did they ever catch him?
Agent Doyle: No.
Adam: Is that why you took this job?
Agent Doyle: You know, you're pretty good at this. Did you ever think about becoming a cop?
Adam: Well, you know, when I was a kid.
Agent Doyle: Well, you've got the instincts for it. Cops gotta have good instincts. You know what mine are telling me now? You are hiding something from me.
Adam: What is it you think I'm hiding?
Agent Doyle: Well, why don't you just keep on talking and maybe I'll figure that out.

Adam: [about his father] I buried him in the rose garden. We went to the sheriff's office a week later and told them that Dad just didn't come home one day. They filed a missing persons but they didn't find anything. After a while they sent us to separate orphanages.
Agent Doyle: So, nobody ever knew about any of this?
Adam: No. Not until now.
Agent Doyle: What about Adam? He didn't tell anybody?
Adam: Mind if we just sit here? I don't much feel like talking anymore.
Agent Doyle: Tell me more about that promise you made to your brother.
Adam: It was later on that night.
Fenton: Adam? If you ever destroy me, promise me you'll bury me here.
Adam: I promise to God I'll bury you here.
Agent Doyle: I don't get it. He promised you that he'd bury you here?
Adam: Yeah.
Agent Doyle: If he killed you.
Adam: No, not killed. Destroyed.
Agent Doyle: Don't make any sense.
Adam: Yes, it does. If that man standing in front of you is Adam Meiks.
Agent Doyle: So you killed all those people.
Adam: No. No, I told you before, I've never killed anyone in my life. Fenton was the killer.
Agent Doyle: Just stop the bullshit and tell me the truth.
Adam: You'll understand soon. Just let me show you where I buried Fenton.

Adam: This is the spot.
Agent Doyle: There's too many graves here. There's only six victims.
Adam: Fenton didn't bury his victims here. He kept them as trophies in his basement. This is where I put demons.
Agent Doyle: You thought your brother was a demon?
Adam: He was. That's why he couldn't see the truth. Dad knew it too. He just couldn't accept it. You see, God asked Dad to destroy his son, much like He asked Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac. But Dad couldn't do it. And God didn't take pity on Dad like He did Abraham. So He handed down the duty to me. Fenton knew I'd come. That's why he left those notes to lure me in. I guess he figured when the killings made the news that I'd come for him. But I had to wait till God put him on my list. To come before that would have been murder.
Agent Doyle: Adam? Jesus Christ, you really do believe all this stuff.
Adam: I've always believed.
Agent Doyle: That's all lies, Adam.
Adam: No, it's not. I see it when he touches them.
Agent Doyle: You're just crazy as hell. Fenton or Adam or whatever your damn name is. I don't really give a fuck. All I need to know right now is you're a murdering son of a bitch. And I got you.
Adam: Maybe. But that's not gonna bring your mother back, is it? She's dead and her killer got away, didn't he?
Agent Doyle: Goddamn you. Dirty little son of a... How did you know?
Adam: You were on my list. You didn't think anybody knew about that, did you? God knew. That's why he sent me.
Agent Doyle: I'm an FBI agent. They'll come looking for me.
Adam: No, they won't. They'll keep looking for Fenton. You're going to be his last victim.
Agent Doyle: They've seen you. They'll know it was you.
Adam: God will protect me.

Taglines[edit]

  • No Soul Is Safe
  • Like Father, Like Sons/Sins
  • Only demons should fear me.... and you're not a demon, are you?
  • Only The Innocent Survive

Cast[edit]

External links[edit]

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