Frailty has been one of those titles that has been on my netflix queue for years and years. I shuffled it up to the top of the queue for a serial killer double feature with The Minus Man (1999).
Frailty is the story of a man and his two sons set in the late 1970s in BFE Texas. The father - played by Bill Paxton - receives a vision from God. There are demons among us and they must be destroyed. The older son thinks his Dad has gone crazier than a shithouse rat and the younger son buys into it. Dad then gets an axe and a pair of workgloves from the Lord with which to smite his foes. From here the movie goes sideways. To his credit Bill Paxton plays the Dad well, he could have easily become a rolling-eyed frothing loony. Instead Paxton's whacko really and truly believes that he is doing the Lord's work. His crazy is spooky and rings true. The sons are played well by some kids I've never seen in anything. The older brother has some really good lines and there a few moments where his acting is effortless. The younger brother is completely devoted to his father to the point of, "Wow, that kid is gonna be fucked up when he grows up." All in all these three work well together and there are some really dark moments.
If that was all there is to the movie it would have been great: a period piece dealing with insanity, family, and the effects of extreme violence on children, etc., etc., etc. . A nice, neatly wrapped piece of Texan creepiness. Well, the rest of the movie doesn't do that. The rest of the movie takes place twenty years later. There's a new serial killer on the loose. Powers Boothe is the FBI agent on the case and Matthew McConaughey is the key to the case. Oh yeah Matthew is one of the brothers and the other brother is the serial killer. These parts of the movie are pretty crappy: poorly paced, TNT acting, and since this was shot on digital back in the late 90s, looks like cheap porn or local access music videos. It's a shame that these parts of the movie spoil the rest of it but there it is.
I can't recommend seeking this movie out but if you see it on TV give it a chance. Bill Paxton isn't a bad director and is a pretty good actor and it's fun to watch him degenrate.