Bill Paxton's first dig in directorial terrain is a chilling o­ne. Frailty is not for the squeamish, nor for deranged Bible thumpers who excuse psychopathic crime as "of the Lord's hand." Paxton goes for the marrow in this Southern Gothic thriller about a gentle father struggling to raise his motherless boys in smalltown Texas, visited in his sleep by an "angel of the Lord" who directs him to destroy specific demons (ie, persons) in his neighborhood. The father (Bill Paxton) devastates the family's otherwise peaceful existence by forcing his two young sons Fenton and Adam Meiks (Matthew O'Leary and Jeremy Sumpter), to help him in the commission of the crimes. Trouble is, he thinks he's doing his evangelical duty in ridding the world of sinners because when he touches his victims, he has graphic visions of their heinous transgressions. What seems clear at first is confessed in flashbacks by the now adult Fenton Meiks (Matthew McConaughey) to the FBI detective (Powers Boothe) investigating the unsolved serial murders and the audience is kept guessing as to what really occurred and what may be delusional psychosis. The heart of the film is not merely a psychological thriller about a deranged ax murderer (Paxton is vigilant in keeping the blood n'guts offscreen). It is the story of a man driven insane with fundamentalism, and the horror he imparts to his children who are sacrificed for his religious fanaticism. The parallels to global current events are unavoidable, and horrific – for this is indeed part of the world we now live in.

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