Fragile is heartbreaking because it really has so much potential. It takes place on the Isle of Wight, and as a part UK, part Spanish production, it has a sort of European sensibility that I appreciate. Calista Flockhart does alright (except for a handful of scenes involving embarrassingly over-acted hysterics). The elements are there, but they fail to coalesce into something more than mediocre.
The premise is familiar enough: an American nurse takes a temporary job at a British hospital slated to be shut down. Spooky stuff happens, this time involving the handful of children still stuck in the wards (they suffer inexplicable broken bones). Flockhart’s character has the requisite dark secret, and the requisite uphill battle to convince the other doctors that there is something supernatural going on (despite the fact that the first scene has a child’s bone break on the operating table as the doctors watch it happen on an X-ray monitor). It’s fairly well-executed, with some decent camera work and solid acting (if a few points of spotty dialogue), but I spent most of the film waiting for the payoff that would make the cliches worthwhile. It never came.
As I’ve said many times now, originality is not necessary for a horror story to succeed. Sadly, there’s nothing to help this film get past the overwhelming sense of already-been-done that permeates it. In fairness to the film, I watched it with my friends Matt and Carlea, and we bantered so much through the film that I missed some of the exposition. Regardless, I wasn’t impressed and doubt I would be on a second viewing. Decent performances by the cast (except the aforementioned Flockhart freakouts) do nothing to save it. And, alas, there are no real scares–although I suppose the filmmakers deserve some credit for a novel ghost design. 75/100.