June 26, 2006

Fragile (2005)

(AKA Frágiles)

"As the new night nurse at a soon to be abandoned children's hospital readies the last group of orphans to leave, it becomes increasingly clear that these are not normal children. Something living in the hospital, something the children call the 'mechanical girl', has a terrifying hold over them and will stop at nothing to keep them in the hospital with her forever."

I usually like ghostie films but this was terrible. I don't know quite why but it just kept making me fall asleep. Perhaps it was because it was a joint venture between England and Spain (or maybe it was setting it on the Isle of Wight!) but I think the most likely reason was the overly slow pacing and Asian-style storyline that just bored me.

There was no atmosphere, it wasn't scary, and Calista Flockhart was so dull that the only part of "Frágiles" that interested me was all the set dressing with fancy stuff that the supposedly NHS hospital had on offer. They even had sheets and pillowcases with the name of the hospital on them rather than the newspaper and straw that British hospitals normally provide.

The only realism at all was that the "doctors" and "nurses" didn't seem to have the slightest idea about patient care. At one point one of the doctors had to explain the meaning of "brittle bone disease" to Calista which was just ludicrous as everyone knows what that is and she was so supposed to have had medical training. Now you also have a clue as to why the film is called "Fragile" (in English) too.

Calista Flockhart is hardly one of my favourite actresses anyway and having an American voice among all the English ones was annoyingly incongruous. There was also a Spanish nurse played by Elena Anaya (from "Van Helsing") who was far more beautiful to look at and could have handled the lead role much better. Elena has a sort of Audrey Tautou quality about her which gives her huge screen charisma unlike Calista Flockhart who just looks like a bug-eyed dope in every scene she is in.

Anyway, the story itself is nothing special. It has huge plot holes and no real character development. It's also sort of predictable but does have a slight twist at the end. It doesn't make a lot of sense though. It's not exactly a memorable film either and so I can only justify a rating of 2 out of 10 for it. If you are a fan of PG rated Asian horror then you might rate it a bit higher as it has a similar style to "Gin Gwai" ("The Eye") from 2002.

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