Director – Jaume Balaguera
Cast – Calista Flockhart, Richard Roxburgh, Elena Anaya, Gemma Jones, Yasmin Murphy, Colin McFarlane, Michael Pennington, Daniel Ortiz, Susie Trayling, Lloyd F. Booth Shankley, Michael Gatward
Release Year – 2005
Reviewed by John of the Dead
Fragile is a film I saw several years back when it first debuted, and it was so unimpressive for me that I simply FORGOT I had already seen it when I decided to give it a watch this second(but unknown to me) time. Basically, I started noticing some similarities with “another” film I thought I had seen, then soon enough realized that this was the same film, which says something about how little I enjoyed it the first time. Even more flabbergasting to me is the fact that this film comes directed by REC(one of horror’s best films EVER) co-director Jaume Balaguera! Granted, Fragile debuted a whole two years before REC did, and much can happen during that span of time, however this really is a film that I should like, but despite a really sweet looking antagonist this is an overly cliché waste of horror.
Calista Flockhart stars as Amy Nicholls, a children’s nurse returning to the field after a disastrous incident that occurred at her previous job. Amy has earned a position at a rundown children’s hospital with a dark past, a dark past unbeknownst to Amy. Mysterious and traumatic events have been plaguing the children of the hospital, and Amy’s search for the reasoning behind the matter takes her on a supernatural journey into the hospital’s secrets, which also places her life in mortal danger.
I don’t know what it is about writer/director Jauma Balaguero, but his two biggest films prior to REC, Darkness and Fragile really were nothing special to watch at all. While Darkness showed some ingenuity and creativity, Fragile was nothing but the same old plot and clichés I have seen hundreds of times, and will never forgive the film for unless I really get something worthwhile in return. Well, as you may have guessed by now…this film does not give me anything worthwhile in return.
Balaguero’s direction is actually quite favorable, as it also was in Darkness. His camerawork is positive, his dark cinematography is very nice and provides a nice visual feel for this film, and he does what he can with the horror he has written for himself. Most of the few scares that were in this film were pretty good and executed well, and I will applaud him for doing his job in the area of direction. I will also ESPECIALLY applaud him for his excellent usage of the “Mechanical Girl” towards the end of the film. Her look and her persona/mannerisms were truly horrifying and definitely came off as the best element and best overall aspect about this film. Unfortunately we really don’t get any usage from her until the final 30 minutes of the film, after a bunch of nonsense occurs for the first hour or so of runtime. Had we been given a LOT more footage relative to what we were given in the last act of this flick then I could see this film rated MUCH higher, but that is just not the case.
As you should have guessed by now…the bulk of this film’s problems lie in its storyline. The idea of a troubled “whatever” returning to the job after a troubling incident has turned into one of the most cliché story ideas these days. Sure it provides some tension due to the fact that none of the person’s co-workers will believe them because of their troubled past, but to me that is lazy writing. What happens is it comes too easy, and it makes me less interested in what is going on. The rest of the story was full of every possible horror cliché imaginable, and to make matters worse these clichés were not just “cliché”, but overly cheezy as well, which is NEVER a good thing of the film isn’t “campy” horror. I don’t know if you can tell by now, but Fragile is NOT campy horror by a long shot.
Overall, this is a poor outing from writer/director Jaume Balaguero that despite a very AWESOME antagonist turns out to be nothing but a mess of clichés as its end result. If you have absolutely nothing better to watch on a lonely night then this may be worth it for the “Mechanical Girl” alone, but other than that I suggest you skip this one.