When a train crash causes the main hospital to overflow the rundown Mercy Falls facility on the Isle of Wight, which was due to close a couple of days earlier, has to remain open for a couple of extra days and as they are short staffed troubled nurse Amy Nicholls (Calista Flockhart) arrives to be the night nurse on the children's ward where eight children remain. But soon Amy discovers things are not right as the children seem to be under someone's control and they talk about the 2nd floor and the robot girl who lives there, except the 2nd floor has been locked off since 1959 and no one has been in there. As Amy tries to get to the bottom of things she uncovers something supernatural.
What makes up a good horror movie? Everyone has their own list of things they want from an unsettling atmosphere to graphic violence. Elements which appear on my list include atmosphere, sudden shocks and character depth with character depth actually being the most critical of those. You see if a movie doesn't have interesting characters that are actual personalities rather than puppets then I am not going to connect them and feel for them when the proverbial spooky shit starts to hit the fan.
That brings me to "Fragile" from Spanish director Jaume Balagueró an interesting horror about spooky goings on in the children's ward of a soon to be vacated hospital which has had an abandoned floor since 1959, yep that is far fetched already because that just doesn't happen. But the contrived set up is not the issues I have with the movie; in fact as things go the storyline is ideal to deliver plenty of mystery. Nope my issue is the complete failure to give us characters who are people rather than puppets and as such there is no emotional connection, no fondness for Amy or understanding of who she is and so who cares when things start to get really creepy and the strain makes her start to fall apart.
That is not the only problem I have with "Fragile" as it is also painfully slow going, purposefully quiet and slow in the search for atmosphere but goes too far and instead becomes laborious rather than suspenseful. It gets to the point that you start wishing for people to start dying in painful ways because you become desperate for something exciting and attention grabbing to happen and a lift getting stuck on the creepy floor is not enough to make it enthralling.
What this all boils down to is that "Fragile" was far too slow and laborious for me with no real characters to connect to so that you can feel the fear that they feel. Maybe for those who enjoy the slow pace of a movie which tries to be creepy will enjoy it but for those who need thrills and excitement will find it ultimately painfully slow and unrewarding.
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