Fragile (2005)

Calista Flockhart, Richard Roxburgh, Elena Anaya, Gemma Jones,
At her new job in a rundown children's hospital, a nurse desperately tries to keep her patients safe from a plague of random, mysterious attacks.
  • 6.0 /10.0 IMDB Rating:
  • DatePublished:
  • 2018-09-07 Added:
  • Jordi Galceran, Writer:
  • Jaume Balagueró, Director:
  • Julio Fernández, Joan Ginard, Producer:


6 / 10

Standard ghostly chills

FRAGILE is one of those ghost stories that turns out to be heavily indebted to modern Asian horror in its story of a haunted hospital and a malicious ghost that preys on the sick children living therein. At first, when I noticed the presence of Spanish director Jaume Balaguero (he of the outstanding REC) I thought we might be in for something a bit above the average, but even good directors can only do so much with average source material and much of FRAGILE screams average.

The somewhat unusual backdrop for the film is the Isle of Wight, but sadly as this is a low budget production virtually none of the scenes take place outside of the abandoned hospital (one sub-plot follows an ex-nurse as she talks to some characters who apparently stepped off the set of DON'T LOOK NOW, but this storyline vanishes shortly afterwards). The various haunting-type stuff feels pretty predictable – after all, there are only so many ways that a vengeful spirit's actions can be portrayed – and other than the unexpectedly harsh viciousness toward the child victims, this is all very much par for the course. The ghost itself may be frightening to some, but I was too much reminded of the way the Grudge films, for instance, shoot around the ghosts to make them more frightening and this movie follows suit.

Calista Flockhart is the imported female star, delivering a slightly more expletive-ridden performance than you'd expect for this actress. Flockhart has never been one of my favourites, and she's occasionally shrill and over the top here, which doesn't help very much. Richard Roxburgh, playing a dashing doctor type straight out of the pages of a Mills & Boon Medical, is much better, even if once again I mistook him for Sean Pertwee for half the running time. Nobody else in the cast list makes much of an impression, particularly the unimpressive child actors, although Colin McFarlane (BATMAN BEGINS) does well in a minor role (even if he does take the clichéd role you'd expect to see a black actor in a horror film cast in).

FRAGILE is a pretty predictable film for horror fans; it's certainly not badly made, and it passes the time, but I do expect greater effort from my horror films these days instead of movies which end up delivering yet more of the same.

7 / 10

A Love Kiss

In Wight Island, Amy Nicholls (Calista Flockhart) arrives in the old Mercy Falls Children Hospital to work as night nurse as replacement of the former nurse Susan. The hospital is in a deactivation process, with the patients being transferred to Saint James Hospital; however, due to a train crash, the closing process has been postponed. Amy is introduced to eight children with lung cases by the nurse Helen Perez (Elena Anaya), and she feels a sort of attraction for the terminal girl Maggie (Yasmin Murphy). Maggie likes to play with some letter blocks to talk with the "mechanical girl" called Charlotte that would live upstairs, in an abandoned floor. Amy asks about Charlotte to her coworkers and they explain that she is an urban legend and the Maggie is making up her existence. But sooner they find that the children can not be transferred to Saint James since there is something evil that wants to keep them near.

"Frágiles" has a good ghost story based on the existence of lost souls that would stay in the world of the living, close to what they love. The old women explain to Amy that "it is not where they died or lived; they simply stay near what they loved, and that is what keeps them here but nothing else." The viewer needs "to buy" this concept to enjoy and understand this scary and dramatic film, the same way for example in "The Grudge" ("the curse that is born from someone dying in a powerful rage") or "The Ring" ("the viewer will die seven days after watching a videotape"), just to mention two recent successful Asian movies. This movie is well directed, the cast has great performances, and there are frightening moments along the story. My vote is seven.

Title (Brazil): "Terror em Mercy Falls" ("Terror in Mercy Falls")

7 / 10

Sin ... something

Considering how much I loved "Nameless" and Darkness (english titles), I am really surprised I never actually saw this until the other day. On the other hand I may have been too nice rating wise. That's a thing I have been accused of (not always, I've been bad too) from time to time. I guess I dig movies that have some supernatural elements to them.

There are some inconsistencies here however, that the actors are not able to fully overcome. The effects are really good though and the story is overall engaging. If you do like horror thriller you may as well just overlook the flaws and go with the flow. Story is easy to follow and maybe even a bit too predictable. Still this is tension filled and while I've never seen Ally McBeal that may be a bonus point for some people too (the fact the main actress is the star of that show that is)

7 / 10

Horror and suspense movie with intense sequences of terror

An American woman (Calista Flockhart ) gets work in a rundown hospital where there are ill children which are suffering creepy events . She become clear that these are not normal kids . They're unsettling with a weird ghost is living in the hospital and the kids call the mechanical girl who has imperfect Osteogenesis . The nurse desperately tries to keep the children safe of mysterious spectres . A little girl (Ivana Baquero) begins afraid of the darkness and is terrorized asking for help but the nurse becomes threatened by vicious being that embarks upon a killing spree .

This thrilling picture displays mystery , suspense , restless terror including decent scares with tense horror sequences . It provides horrifying and hair raising images with a bit of blood and gore . The movie takes accent as the suspense as well as the terror with eerie scenes when the horrible ghost makes apparition . The narration is correctly developed with an imaginative , well-knit screenplay and striking , exciting ending . There are some scenes of an animated clip "Sleeping Beauty" it is not an excerpt from an animated film , but was created specifically for this movie . Filmmaker Jaume Balaguero is borrowing inspiration from the ghosts of ¨The sixth sense¨, demonic possession with poltergeist phenomenon with high grade FX as crack walls , rare sounds etc of ¨Amytiville¨ until his anterior films as ¨The nameless¨ and ¨Darkness¨.

The actors are top-notch , such as the little girl played by Ivana Baquero, (future star in Pan's labyrinth) as well as the adults , Calista Flockhart , Gemma Jones . Richard Roxburgh and Elena Anaya are pretty well , both of whom previously worked in ¨Van Helsing¨ as Dracula and his bride . Sinister and mysterious atmosphere is made by Balaguero's , usual cameraman : Xavi Gimenez . Shot on location in Bearwood College , Reading , England was used as the exterior location for the Mercy Falls Children's Hospital and Union Street in Ryde on the Isle of Wight . Musical Score adjusted to horror film , being magnificently composed by Roque Ba?os (The machinist , 800 bullets) . The motion picture was compellingly directed by Jaume Balaguero who came up with the idea for the plot after learning this rare illness : Osteogenesis . Slick movie aimed to terror fans and is one of the highest earning horror movie of the last years .

7 / 10

The Mechanical Girl.

Fragile (AKA: Fragiles) is directed by Juame Balaguero who also co- writes the screenplay with Jordi Galceran. It stars Calista Flockhart, Elena Anaya, Yasmin Murphy, Richard Roxburgh and Colin McFarlane. Music is by Roque Banos and cinematography by Xavi Gimenez.

Mercy Falls Children's Hospital, Isle of White, soon to be closed down and currently only housing the last few child patients and a skeleton crew of staff.. It is also home to something else, something sinister up on the second floor?apparently.

Supernatural spooker involving kids in peril, Fragile is quintessentially a ghost story movie for the undemanding like minded film fan looking for chills, jumps and atmosphere abound. Those in search of something new thrown on to the haunted building table are advised to steer clear, for in spite of a somewhat bonkers finale, where hospital apocalypse is the order of the day, this stays safely on the well trodden path.

Yet when done well enough clichés are not a problem, such is the case here. Flockhart's nurse has mental anguish in her past which she inevitably has to exorcise, and naturally she's going to be the heroine in some shape or form, we know this as she's the American come to the Isle of White to work, a new start. However, it's a nicely drawn characterisation that engages when the bond between nurse and one particularly troubled child is fully born.

With the back drop that of a Gothic hospital (exteriors really Bearwood College in Berkshire, England), complete with a closed ward straight out of Session 9, atmosphere is well maintained by Balaguero, and of course whenever there are sick and dying kids involved there's always a deep sadness dripped into film. The scares range from standard things that go clang in the night, lifts and beds that come to life, and edge of the seat inducing walks around dead silent parts of the hospital. Then there's that ending?

The story involving the reason for the haunting is a neat one, unfortunately the entity in its realisation is not. We are introduced to something monstrous, but it belongs in a different movie, perhaps a Clive Barker inspired one in fact. Some will (and already do) find it very freaky, but I feel it goes a bit away from the traditional ghost movie flavours previously sprinkled throughout the picture. However, there's a genuine surprise at film's closure, where not reverting to formula type is a major bonus.

Derivative? Yes more often than not. Good time assured for fans of haunted house like mysteries? Absolutely! 7/10