Fragile: A Ghost Story DVD Review
Directed by Jaume Balaguero
Written by Jaume Balaguero & Jordi Galceren
2005, Region 1, 95 Minutes, Rated PG-13
DVD Released on September 28th, 2010
Calista Flockhart as Amy Nicholls
Richard Roxburgh as Robert Marcus
Elena Anaya as Helen Perez
Gemma Jones as Mrs. Folder
Yasmin Murphy as Maggie
Colin McFarlane as Roy
Susie Trayling as Susan
Daniel Ortiz as Matt
Fragile is a film that combines three of my greatest fears: Old hospitals, diseased children and being an American in a foreign country (in this case England). Does it deliver on bringing these terrors to the screen? Sort of. The movie follows Amy (Calista Flockhart), a nurse with some issues, who has just gotten a new job at a rundown English children's hospital that is about to close up shop. She's to be the new night nurse as the old one just up and left. No one will really talk about it either. There are only about ten kids, so this should be an easy job. Unfortunately for her, the hospital is haunted. While it's not openly discussed, something happened here years ago and as a result the top floor is completely abandoned. Amy eventually uncovers the truth about the ghost that has been haunting this pediatric hospital and confronts it with the help of one of the patients.
This sounds like a good deal, but it's incredibly stretched out. Fragile is a story that would fit perfectly as an episode of a show like Supernatural or The X-Files, but as a feature film it falls short. The entire thing is a slow burn and when the final payoff comes, it doesn't feel like it was worth the wait at all. I will admit, though, that I didn't see the big reveal coming.
Flockhart is halfway decent as our protagonist Amy. At first she's floating through the hospital, barely taking in her surroundings. As she gets to know some of the children, she opens up more and sheds her emotional baggage. Her supporting characters leave something to be desired, though. They're stuck in this fog like they can't accept the situation they're in. Instead any supernatural possibilities are just swept under the rug so that they can concentrate on taking care of the kids.
Fragile is a disappointing film. There are many elements that should add up to a really spooky horror film, but when all the pieces are put together something is missing. The length of the film is an issue because there are long segments where almost nothing of importance happens. If the story was fleshed out, it would make it more enjoyable. After watching the behind-the-scenes featurette where the director explains that he got the idea for the entire movie from an old photograph he found, I can see why they didn't have much more to go on. There's probably a reason that this movie is just coming out on DVD now after it premiered in 2005.
Video and Audio:
Fragile has a creepy look all over it. The lighting in the hospital makes everything look very pale and lifeless. There wasn't much in the way of special effects, but whatever there was did look pretty good. There were some scenes where the walls were cracking and breaking apart and it looked real. The film is shown in Widescreen format. The audio is presented in 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround Sound.
As with the other Fangoria Frightfest releases, the features are pretty minimal. There's a 21 minute behind-the-scenes featurette where the filmmakers discuss the inspiration for the movie and how things came together. There's also a brief 5 minute featurette on the special effects used in making Fragile. Of course, there are the obligatory Fangoria Frightfest trailers called "Frights" here to make them sound more than what they are.