Sunday, October 7, 2007

reVIEW (26)
[3 of 3]

Mercy Falls Children’s Hospital on the Isle of Wight is in the process of shutting down. With only eight children left in the ward, and a skeleton staff to keep things running, Amy Nichols (Calista Flockhart) is brought in, after the sudden departure of the previous night nurse.
It isn’t long however, before Amy discovers something is terribly wrong in Mercy Falls, something that causes children’s bones to break inexplicably, something that haunts the deserted halls and abandoned floors of the hospital.

Fragiles (Fragile) is Jaume Balaguero’s third feature, and in many ways, it’s the closest he’s come to mainstream horror. Taking a premise, setting, and threat that are genre conventions, Balaguero gives them all enough of his own personal spin to make this one a worthwhile watch.
As with anything shot by ace cinematographer Xavi Gimenez, Fragiles looks great. And with an effective central performance by Flockhart—who largely manages to make the audience forget the manic insanity of Ally McBeal with her haunted portrayal of Amy—there is much to recommend here.

Admittedly, I do miss Balaguero regulars editor Luis De La Madrid and composer Carles Cases; all due respect to Jaume Marti and Roque Banos. However, what haunts Mercy Falls is one freaky-a$$ looking thing that raises the hackles. (And though that doesn’t completely make up for those absences, that does go some way to appeasing me.)
It should also be noted that Paco Plaza (who is co-directing the upcoming [Rec] with Balaguero) did some second unit work on Fragiles.

Yes, compared to Los Sin Nombre and Darkness, Fragiles seems pretty old school, but the narrative and characters are solid, and the direction is as certain and assured as it was in Balaguero’s previous works.
So if you’re into Balaguero (or just enjoy your horror), you really should check out Fragiles.

Parting shot: Among the awards won by Fragiles: the Barcelona Film Award for Best Editing (Jaume Marti, who is also editing Brad Anderson’s upcoming Transsiberian) and the Goya for Best Special Effects.

(Fragiles OS courtesy of; Fragile OS courtesy of; UK quad courtesy of

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