Tuesday, October 25, 2011
Amy Nicholls (Calista Flockhart) accepts a position on England’s Isle of Wight to work as a night nurse in an old children’s hospital that is in the process of being closed down. Upon arriving she finds only a skeleton staff and 8 children left in the enormous dwelling (think Ladd School, Rhode Islanders). She soon learns that the hospital is only remaining open temporarily because the main hospital on the island is full of victims from a recent train derailment. Amy is informed that she is replacing a nurse who fell ill under mysterious circumstances.
After making her rounds and meeting all the children, Amy begins hearing strange noises and having visions of a creepy entity. One child, Maggie, confides in Amy that she has been seeing and speaking to a “mechanical girl” who lives on the second floor of the building, which has been sealed off for decades. After investigating further Amy learns that the previous nurse left because she was afraid. Soon the children begin experiencing mysterious broken bones that occur for no reason and Maggie tells Amy that the mechanical girl is to blame. No one believes Amy, or course, and as the hospital comes closer to being shut down for good the otherworldly destruction increases.
Fragile is part of the Fangoria Frighfest series, which annually showcases 8 films that get voted on by fans. The film that wins this contest receives a theatrical release. Fragile is every bit as good, if not better, than most of the films that get released in the U.S. today. I’m speculating that the reason it did not receive more attention is because it is so completely derivative of The Ring. The dilapidated (I think I use that word in every review I write) hospital setting is wonderful and Indiana Jones’ wife is effective and likable as the night nurse. The film drips with dread and has a few good scares. Stream it on Netflix!