After almost a century, the Mercy Falls Children's Hospital is about to close its doors for good. A nurse (Calista Flockhart) is hired to assist in the closing process, but it soon becomes increasingly clear that there is a dangerous spirit living in the hospital, which the children call the 'mechanical girl'. This ghostly presence has a terrifying hold over them and will stop at nothing to keep them in the hospital with her forever.
As is the case with many of the Fango FrightFest flicks, Fragile was made several years back (in 2005) and is only now seeing release in the states thanks to the straight to DVD festival. Interesting to note also is that it was directed by one half of REC's directing duo, Jaume Balaguero, a couple years before he made REC. The success of that film is most likely why this one is finally seeing the light of day and that's a good thing, because it's a pretty solid little ghost story that totally shits on the last FrightFest film I watched, The Haunting. Though Fragile does at times fall into that Haunting-esque territory of being predictable, generic and somewhat boring, it ultimately becomes something that ghost film was not ; rewarding.
Much like with REC, Balaguero explores the idea of a vengeful and deformed female entity that resides in the locked up upstairs of the creepy building the film is set in, only with less successful results. Whereas the Medeiros girl terrified the living hell out of me, and probably everyone reading this, the 'mechanical girl' is far less terrifying and memorable, though she does have a pretty interesting motive and origin story, as well as an awesomely brutal way of keeping the children with her. The strong points of this pre-REC effort are not in the scares, but in the emotions, particularly towards the end. While REC ended with me frozen in fear in my seat, Fragile admittedly left me in tears, proving that Balaguero is most definitely a versatile filmmaker, even if both films deal with similar elements. At the end of my review for A Haunting I instructed anyone looking for a good spanish made ghost story to check out The Orphanage instead. I'm happy to say that Fragile is a lot closer to that ballpark, making it one of the stronger FrightFest releases.
Oh and I must mention one last thing about the film. Though the back cover says it's rated PG-13, there are way more uses of the word 'fuck' than are possible in such a film. In other words, despite what the cover says, it must be rated R. There are also a couple gruesome sequences that I doubt would make the PG-13 cut.