Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Frágiles (Fragile)

Its a bit unfair I guess but I am going to compare this Spanish made English language film with the English made Day of the Triffids (2009). Its favourable. You see the Spanish production here is so much more fundamentally believable as a depiction of the UK (Isle of Wight to be precise) then that awful crowd pleaser. Of course that's where the similarities end.

Fragile is a taught little horror with few hardcore scares but a surprisingly well written and engaging story. It tells the story of a closing care unit for seriously ill children. Although their individual ailments are not mentioned it does appear to be Cystic Fybrosis, in a way it is novel that the illness does not take centre stage but rather the cruel and vindictive spirit that will do anything to stop her children leaving. Particularly shocking and quite rare in this world of, don’t hurt the children cinema, is the way that the children are so cruelly attacked. The vindictive ghost brutally and graphically snapping limbs in an effort to keep her company.

It is strange to see what is obviously a foreign film set in the UK and filmed in English. The result is a great merging of continental cinema without the need for subtitles or (yuk) dubbing. I am increasingly impressed with European productions and would love to see this sort of trend continue, after all the language barrier is often the stumbling point for our shallow audiences (not in English…feck that!)

As I said, the film does have its flaws. The story hinges very strongly on a relationship between Callista Flockhearts character and our main child. This seems to appear from nowhere and you would swear that they barely know each other. Same with the handsome doctor and Callista. Why he is so bothered by her peril is unclear as it feels like he barely knows her.vlcsnap-00023The strengths far outweigh these flaws however and strong points such as fantastic acting (even from the kids) great atmosphere and a villain that is really worth waiting to see (and i am loath to post spoiler screenies of). The film is firmly set in a realistic UK and this gives it such a strong resilient identity that is often lacking from more sensational UKs (Cold and Dark springs to mind)

Fragile isn't brilliant, it is heavily redolent of the superb El Orfonato and inferior when directly compared. It is, however, a very good film. Maybe not a pure horror, more a horror drama, and this is its absolute strength because in a very clichéd and tired genre Fragile manages to shake up and reorder some of those clichés into something fresh. vlcsnap-00024Recommended for rental.

Paul out…and thinking of the sexy Spanish nurse

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