->''"You can't make things like that up, son. Killing people is wrong, destroying demons is good. Don't worry, God will send you your own list when you're older."''
-->-- '''Dad Meiks'''

''Frailty'' is a 2001 movie directed by Creator/BillPaxton and starring Paxton, Creator/MatthewMcConaughey, and Creator/PowersBoothe.

Fenton Meiks ([=McConaughey=]) comes to an FBI agent (Boothe) with information about the notorious God's Hand Killer, who has been terrorizing the state of Texas. Through flashbacks, we learn about Fenton, his brother Adam, and his father (Paxton) who has a religious experience that plunges the entire family into turmoil. The father gathers his sons together one morning and tells them they are now soldiers in a heavenly war, and are charged with destroying demons on earth. The revelation splits the family: Adam and his dad are on one side, believing they are destroying demons; meanwhile Fenton believes they are murdering innocent people and is torn between loving his father and thinking he's completely off his rocker. Fenton makes a fateful decision and has come to the agent's office to relieve his guilt and confess his family's buried secrets...

...or has he?

'''Beware of spoilers.'''

!!Theis film provides examples of:

* ArtisticLicenseReligion: According to Christian tradition, demons are pure spirit, without bodies and which cannot be destroyed. Although, according to Christian teaching, it is possible for a demon to possess someone, the remedy for possession is an exorcism. Possessed people are just as much victims of demons as anyone else, and are not necessarily at fault for being possessed. Killing the possessed person would have absolutely no effect on the demon. It's also possible that the use of the term "demon" here is used as a synonym for an irredeemably wicked human. This seems to be the case with [[spoiler:Fenton.]]
* AnAxeToGrind: The axe is inscribed with "OTIS". Some fans think this is either the father's first name, the name of the ax, or an acronym meaning "Only The Innocent Survive". WordOfGod is that the only reason "OTIS" was put there was so that you'd know at the end of the movie that it's still the same axe, making "Only The Innocent Survive" more of a backronym.
* CainAndAbel: Played straight with Fenton and Adam, Fenton not being able to "See" the "Demons" and Adam being able to. [[spoiler: Inverted as Adam ends up killing Fenton in the end.]]
* CassandraTruth
* ChristianityIsCatholic: Averted. One of the deleted scenes reveals that the family is Baptist. Bill Paxton says that he cut the scene because he wanted them to be, in his words, "generically Christian."
* TheComplainerIsAlwaysWrong: Double subverted. When Adam and Fenton's father tells them about the visions he has seen, Adam accepts it unquestioningly while Fenton is deeply skeptical, and is presented as being in the right. [[spoiler:But at the end, Fenton has become a deranged serial killer, and it turns out the visions Fenton and Adam's father had seen were real after all.]]
* TheEndingChangesEverything: [[spoiler: TheReveal that not only is Fenton really Adam, but that he really can see demons, puts the entire movie in a new light. The fact that he's there to kill the agent in charge only adds to this. The ending also reveals that Adam was, indeed, protected from video surveillance (the VHS tape recording him at the FBI office had bad-tracking lines over his face) and an FBI agent ''who personally met and interacted with him fails to recognize him!'']]
* ExtraStrengthMasquerade: Dad states that he's invisible when he's working as God's Hand.[[spoiler: In the ending this turns out to be true. Security footage of Adam is corrupted so that his face can't be made out, and the one person who saw him face-to-face doesn't recognize him a short time later.]]
* TheFamilyThatSlaysTogether: A single father tries to raise his two sons to assist him in his mission to wipe out "demons", which just look like normal people. However, [[spoiler: two of the family members were legitimately called by {{God}} to destroy demons (seriously) while the other one becomes a straight-up SerialKiller, and his first victim is his own father (who was one of the ones called by God).]]
* {{Flashback}}: Most of the movie, really.
* {{Foreshadowing}}: The song the kids are singing at the beginning.
* GenreShift: The earlier parts of the film strongly seem to suggest that Adam and Fenton's father really has just lost his mind, [[spoiler:but the ending seems to imply that he really ''was'' commanded by angels to kill demons, thus shifting the genre from psychological thriller to supernatural thriller.]]
* HeelRealization: Subverted. At one point the father has Fenton build a dirt cellar and locks him in it so that Fenton can find his faith. [[spoiler:Instead of realizing his dad was right, he realizes he is a demon. He buries an axe in his dad's chest and becomes a serial killer.]]
* InsistentTerminology: A great deal of emphasis is placed on the difference between "destroying a demon" and "committing murder." TruthInTelevision, since the actual Biblical Commandment is more accurately translated as "Thou Shalt Not Commit Murder." When God commands that people (or, in this case, demons) be killed, there's usually a pretty good reason, which makes it not "murder."
* KilledToUpholdTheMasquerade: The sheriff.
* KnightTemplar: The dad. He even murders an innocent sheriff to prevent him from finding out about the plan (though he claims he had no choice), and comes within a hair of planting an axe in his son. [[spoiler:He'd regret that he didn't do that later.]]
* OnlySaneMan: Fenton Meiks in the flashbacks. [[spoiler: Or so we are led to believe.]]
* NoNameGiven: Bill Paxton's character is never referred to by name. Even in the end credits, he's "Dad."
* MissionFromGod: The father claims to be on one. [[spoiler:Turns out he was, and now Adam is too.]]
* MeaningfulName: Adam Mieks sharing the same name as Adam of AdamAndEve.
* PunnyName: The Meiks shall inherit the Earth.
* RoomFullOfCrazy: [[spoiler:Fenton's]] bedroom.
* ShoutOut: Defied. The script called for Fenton to want to sneak into ''Film/{{Alien}}'', but Bill Paxton changed the line to ''Film/TheWarriors'' instead, because he didn't want it to feel like a wink at the audience (Bill Paxton having been in ''Film/{{Aliens}}'').
* SocialServicesDoesNotExist : Granted, he's an UnreliableNarrator, but when [[spoiler: Fenton is imprisoned in the hole by his father]], is it summer vacation? Surely someone would notice him missing school, at least.
* SerialKillerKiller: [[spoiler:If Adam can be believed, then he seems to do this, as the people he/his father kill do all seem to have done horrible things.]] But then again, UnreliableNarrator.
* SoulSavingCrusader: Adam and Fenton's father seems like a deranged SerialKiller at first who tortures and kills innocent people after hallucinating that he's been given a MissionFromGod to "destroy demons", but the ending reveals that [[spoiler:it was all true: those people really ''were'' demons and their father was a SerialKillerKiller.]]
* {{Telepathy}}: The father claims to have the ability to see people's sins by touching them. [[spoiler: Given the way Adam finds out about Wesley murdering his mother, and howmaybe he does.]] Also, when he shakes Agent Hull's hand and tells him he's a good man, it can be assumed that he saw that Hull hadn't commited any terrible crimes.
* TomatoInTheMirror: [[spoiler:When Fenton realizes that he is a demon.]]
* TroubleEntendre: "I promise to God I'll bury you here."
* TheOnlyOneAllowedToDefeatYou: PlayedWith. [[spoiler: Fenton, after revealing himself to actually be Adam, stated that while he knew his brother was a serial killer, he had to wait until Fenton's name came up on his list. To kill him before that would be murder.]]
* TheReveal: It turns out that the visions that Dad and Adam Meiks saw were in fact true and the people who he abducted and killed with his ax were in fact demons who had commited horrific crimes.
** Fenton is really Adam.
** Agent Doyle is really a demon on the Angel's list to be destroyed and that Doyle had killed his own mother.
** Also, Fenton turns out to be a demon, had become a serial killer when he was older, and Adam had killed him. Succeeding where their father had failed.
* TwistEnding: [[spoiler: The man who calls himself Fenton Meiks is really ADAM Meiks, and he's only telling the story in order to get Agent Doyle out of the office to be destroyed. Yep, the father was really called by God to destroy demons: Agent Doyle is one, and so is Fenton, who ended up becoming a serial killer. Adam has been carrying on his father's work.]]
* UnreliableNarrator: [[spoiler: "Fenton" Meiks' clearly told ''some'' lies in his story to Agent Doyle, considering that he later reveals himself to be Adam Meiks and the ''real'' God's Hand Killer.]]
* VertigoEffect: When the FBI agent meets the Sheriff, [[spoiler:and doesn't recognize him as the guy from the night before who was the last person to see Wesley alive.]]