Movie Reviews 241 – Fragile (2005)

FragileWhen a night nurse abruptly quits her job right at Mercy Falls hospital in the midst of a move to a new building, Amy Nicholls (Calista Flockhart) is hired to fill the vacant position. If the move wasn’t drastic enough on it’s own, the Isle of Wight hospital’s woes are compounded when a train accident suddenly fills all the remaining beds at the new hospital. As a result Amy finds herself in a hospital that is barely functional and the last remaining patients, a handful of children in one ward will have to stay just a bit longer.

But some or something is disrupting that last push to get the last patients out. And what is it exactly about that mysterious second floor of the building that’s been shuttered for decades?. Amy befriends Maggie, a patient who tells her about “Charlotte’, a ghostly entity girl who wears a metal body brace and who communicates with the other kids using toy blocks. When Amy attempts to contact the nurse she replaced to question the circumstances of her departure she finds that she died in a accident the very next day after she left. She confronts the staff, only to have them dismiss the stories as urban legends. When Amy finds evidence that one of the boys had a bone spontaneously broken while lying untouched on an X-Ray table, she finally gets the truth about the history of a certain event that took place in the hospital.

The titular characteristic of fragility is pervasive, beginning with Amy herself who arrived at the hospital already in a tenuous state of mind, blaming herself for the death of a former patient. The twist ending is hinted at when Amy dares a visit the shuttered floor. Some of the horror comes at us not from the current ethereal events at the hospital, but from what we learn of passed as ‘medical treatment’ in bygone days.

Directed by Jaume Balagueró the man who later created the Spanish REC series of movies (remade in Hollywood as the Quarantine series), the DVD is one of the many titles released under the Fangoria FrightFest banner. While not as visceral as his later movies, it was a portent of things to come. I’ve got a one or two more movies from that collection, so here’s hoping they are as promising as this one.

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