Completing my eight-film tour of the debuting “Fangoria FrightFest” line, I had saved the two Spanish, medical-themed ghost stories for last: “The Haunting” and “Fragile.”

The former, my son and I found so boring, we admitted defeat and couldn’t finish it. The latter, much better. In fact, for a picture titled “Fragile” “” not to mention something that’s been awaiting release for half a decade “” it’s pretty darn sturdy.

Mrs. Indiana Jones herself, Calista Flockhart, plays nurse Amy Nicholls, who’s brought to a spooky old children’s hospital in midst of a transition. Befitting the project’s horror vein, she works the night shift, and not long after she begins to help transfer the kids there to a bigger, better site, weird things start happening, as in ear-bursting sounds, poltergeist activity and whatnot.

One young patient, Maggie (Yasmin Murphy), blames Charlotte, a mysterious girl upstairs that the staff believes imaginary. Well, she’s not, and when we finally see Charlotte … let’s just say she has a face only a mother could love.

Director/co-writer Jaume Balagueró (best known for “[REC],” which became the American “Quarantine”) builds the first two-thirds of this picture with a slow burn, allowing viewers to get settled — as much as they can — in the setting’s wealth of atmosphere before unleashing the beast for a fast, full-on finale.

Its most hair-raising moment, featuring wooden blocks and a rather unfortunate African-American character, may be the scariest scene to involve spelling since Mia Farrow screwed around with Scrabble in “Rosemary’s Baby.” Flockhart opens her peepers a bit too wide to express shock, but she’s sympathetic and believably maternal toward Maggie, and has good rapport with co-star Richard Roxburgh.

For a, um, “spiritual” experience, “Fragile” is a good bet … unless you cringe at the sight of protruding and/or fracturing bones. —Rod Lott

Rod Lott

This material falls under the archives category because it was imported from our previous website. It will eventually be filtered into the proper category as time allows.



WordPress Lightbox