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Obey Thy Father
By Cassandra F., Grade 12, Fredericton High, Fredericton, NB

Director: Bill Paxton
Lions Gate - 2002

If God came to you with a list, a list of people's names, and told you they were demons, would you slay them to serve his will? And, if your father came to you with the request to help him fulfill this wish from God; would you put your faith in him? The irony of such morbid requests by these righteous figures is what sets the stage for Bill Paxton's first attempt at directing, in the movie "Frailty".

When an angel appears to 'Dad', the only name given to actor/director Bill Paxton's character, and tells him his family was chosen to get rid of demons - who will, mind you, look and seem like real people - he enlists the faith of his two young sons. And, though even to them, two boys brought up in a religious household, this seems to be a completely ridiculous tale, they soon realize their father is serious.

With the effective use of voice-over by Matthew McConaughey, the aged character of one of the sons, we experience every haunting detail of the story. With attention to detail, and well-choreographed transitions from past to present, this film constantly keeps the viewer in tune. Well-orchestrated music sequences and effective lighting techniques create this film's distorted ambiance, and the details of the camera work are well sculpted to set the tone. Yet, perhaps the most intriguing part of this film is the addition of some unexpected, very cheesy special effects. Gothic angels with fiery swords, and heads swirling in insanity, seem to be oddly out of place; but, perhaps purposely done to enhance the unbelievable qualities of the story.

Innocence, frailty, and total oblivious faith are the three central qualities in this film. Each character, with the expressions on their face alone, convinces us to question our own opinion of what's right or wrong, crazy or true.

The question of faith, religious and human, reigns strong in the film. Not your typical horror movie, this dark, gothic picture leaves you questioning the reality of the ending, and wanting to watch it again.


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