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(aka "Fragiles" or "Fragile: A Ghost Story")

 

directed by Jaume Balaguero
Spain/UK 2005

 

Mercy Falls, a secluded children's hospital on the coast of the Isle of Wight is being closed down and the children transferred to the new hospital in the middle of the island. Temp nurse Sarah (Calista Flockhart) has arrived to assist in the move which has been delayed by a massive train accident that has filled up the new hospital with patients. Working as the night nurse, Sarah discovers that the children live in fear of a "mechanical girl" called Charlotte. After her predecessor dies, Sarah starts to believe this unseen presence might be responsible for the mysterious fractures a child patient developed and various child deaths over the years. Another mysterious death has Sarah believing in a ghostly, evil presence living on the closed off second floor that means to hurt the children and she must convince head nurse Folder (Gemma Jones), skeptical Dr. Marcus (Richard Roxburgh), and concerned nurse Helen (Elena Anaya).

Released in the US after a 5 year delay (during which it was rumored that MGM had picked it up and then LionsGate which seemed more likely given their distribution of just about every other Filmax horror title after Dimension distributed THE NAMELESS and DARKNESS), FRAGILE is feels a bit familiar after the glut of new wave Asian and French horror imports and the newer, bloodier R-rated and unrated American horror boom (also, Flockhart has gone back to television with a another successful series but she is not as bankable a movie lead as she was back when this film was originally shot). Although the protagonist is given a traumatic backstory, Balaguero's film quickly does away with the "is-it-real-or-all-in-her-head" question and instead focuses the suspense on figuring out exactly what and who the haunting presence is. Although there are the expected whispers and booms on the surround track and shadows zipping by in the foreground and background of shots, Balaguero takes a more subtle approach than he did with his only US theatrical release so far DARKNESS towards telling a story more in step with his more intimate first feature THE NAMELESS (which Dimension dumped onto DVD with minimal respect). Performances are good all around and, as a result, the film is quite moving in spots (like the aforementioned THE NAMELESS) even if the film feels only slightly hobbled by conceding to recent horror film trends (some of which Balaguero contributed to with the aforementioned DARKNESS).

Eric Cotenas

Posters

Theatrical Release: 14 October 2005 (Spain)

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DVD Comparison:

Phase 4 Films (Fangoria Frightfest 2010) - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Filmax (2-disc edition) - Region 2 - PAL

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for all the Screen Caps!

(Phase 4 Films (Fangoria Frightfest 2010) - Region 1 - NTSC - LEFT vs. Filmax (2-disc edition) - Region 2 - PAL - RIGHT)

DVD Box Covers

 

 

 

 

 

 

Distribution

Phase 4 Films

Region 1 - NTSC

Filmax
Region 2 - PAL
Runtime 1:41:21 1:37:18 (4% PAL speedup)
Video

2.34:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 6.46 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

2.31:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 7.13 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

Phase 4 Films (Fangoria Frightfest 2010)

 

Bitrate:

Filmax (2-disc edition)

 

Audio English Dolby Digital 5.1; English Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo

Spanish DTS 5.1; Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1; English Dolby Digital 5.1; Catalan Dolby Digital 5.1

Subtitles none English, Spanish, none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Phase 4 Films

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 2.34:1

Edition Details:
• The Making of FRAGILE (4:3; 21:24; in Spanish with English subtitles)
• FRAGILE Visual Effects (4:3; 5:11; in Spanish with English subtitles)
• U.S. Theatrical Trailer (16:9; 1:47)
• 8 Fangoria Frights Previews (16:9; 30:29)
• Trailers for DARK HOUSE, HUNGER, THE TOMB, and PIG HUNT
• Start-up trailers for GRIMM LOVE, ROAD KILL, and THE HAUNTING (NO-DO)

DVD Release Date: September 28th, 2010
Amaray

Chapters 12
 

Release Information:
Studio: Filmax

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 2.31:1

Edition Details:
• DISC 1:
• Audio commentary by director/co-writer Jaume Balaguero (in Spanish only)
• Cast and Crew Biographies
• Jaume Balaguero Trailers for DARKNESS and THE NAMELESS
• DISC 2:
• The Making of FRAGILES (21:24; in Spanish)
• FRAGILES Visual Effects (5:11; in Spanish)
• Location Diary (8:53; in Spanish), Press Conference (12:05; in Spanish)
• Bloopers (2:14), Tomas Diverse (18:56)
• Behind the Scenes: The Death Of Ray (5:43), Did You Really See Them? (2:14), Maggie And Another
• Attack, and Return To Mercy Falls (2:37)
• Deleted Scenes (5:00), Mandy's Medical File (3:58)
• Teaser, Spanish Trailer, 3 TV Spots, Photo Gallery, and Poster Gallery

 

DVD Release Date: April 25th, 2006
Amaray

Chapters 14

 

Comments

It is difficult to determine which release has the more accurate image. The R1 is darker and sports slightly more saturated colors but is also a bit murky (although that could be intentional). The R2 looks a tad washed out in comparison but there is more visible detail even during the darker scenes. I find myself preferring the Spanish image. The Spanish disc has a higher bitrate but a chunk of it is allocated to one half-bitrate DTS track, three Dolby 5.1 tracks, and a 2.0 commentary track (in Spanish with no subs) while the R1 only has Dolby 5.1 and 2.0 stereo options.

The two translated extras on the R1 are substantial but there are few extras on the Spanish disc that should be easy for English speakers to follow as the production was shot in English with mostly British and American actors (as such, the outtakes, bloopers, deleted scenes, and interview sound bytes during the other featurettes with the cast are in English). If you've already picked up the Spanish disc or one of the many other imports (the film had English-friendly DVD releases - and one HD-DVD edition - in just about every other territory in the five years before it got its US release). For North American viewers, this is the most accessible option.

 - Eric Cotenas

 



DVD Menus
(
Phase 4 Films (Fangoria Frightfest 2010) - Region 1 - NTSC - LEFT vs. Filmax (2-disc edition) - Region 2 - PAL - RIGHT)
 

 

 


 

Screen Captures

(Phase 4 Films (Fangoria Frightfest 2010) - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP vs. Filmax (2-disc edition) - Region 2 - PAL - BOTTOM)


(Phase 4 Films (Fangoria Frightfest 2010) - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP vs. Filmax (2-disc edition) - Region 2 - PAL - BOTTOM)


(Phase 4 Films (Fangoria Frightfest 2010) - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP vs. Filmax (2-disc edition) - Region 2 - PAL - BOTTOM)

 


(Phase 4 Films (Fangoria Frightfest 2010) - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP vs. Filmax (2-disc edition) - Region 2 - PAL - BOTTOM)

 


(Phase 4 Films (Fangoria Frightfest 2010) - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP vs. Filmax (2-disc edition) - Region 2 - PAL - BOTTOM)

 


(Phase 4 Films (Fangoria Frightfest 2010) - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP vs. Filmax (2-disc edition) - Region 2 - PAL - BOTTOM)

 


(Phase 4 Films (Fangoria Frightfest 2010) - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP vs. Filmax (2-disc edition) - Region 2 - PAL - BOTTOM)

 


 

Report Card:

 

Image:

Filmax

Sound:

Draw

Extras: Filmax
Menu: Draw
DVD Box Covers

 

 

 

 

 

 

Distribution

Phase 4 Films

Region 1 - NTSC

Filmax
Region 2 - PAL

 

 




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