Halloween Horror: Frayed
This One’s Got It All
Flashback herrings, maddening, painted, ruminations in hidden rooms...ringing, stabbing, bells, Friday the 13th teenagers...
...and fart jokes, too!
Twists and Turns
This movie will surprise you. As I watched Frayed, I became anxious…to say the least. There was an overall feeling of frustration. How could the filmmakers be so sloppy? How could they try in such an obvious manner to fool the audience by telegraphing their movie’s twist, EVERY STEP OF THE WAY? Did they think we were stupid? At least try to hide it!!!
Laurie Strode’s Closet
It WAS the Boogeyman.
We meet our deranged, slasher- killer Kurt, through the lens of a video made at his sister’s 5th birthday party. We can tell Kurt is a disturbed young man, but have no idea why. Is this an “evil incarnate” Michael Myers rip-off we’re about to see?
Kurt, at the party, engages in some jealous brother activities. Those involve taking his sister’s music box from her and ruining her birthday-cake-moment by blowing out her candles. Then, the video shows us, the brutal…brutal… murder of Kurt’s mother with a baseball bat, after she tries to reprimand Kurt and make him take responsibility for his actions.
This horrific murder is focused on directly, Kurt takes a while killing her, and we are witness to it. It is a version of the opening of Halloween, similar to the murder of Michael’s sister, but way more graphic. One key difference remains in Frayed, however. We, the viewer, are never behind the killer’s mask, as we are with young Michael Myers.
The similarities to Carpenter’s classic continue, as we see a non-verbal Kurt grow up in a mental institution and of course, inevitably escape. Kurt’s father, the police chief, throughout the hospital scenes and narration, is distraught and stoic; interested in the welfare of his son, and hoping for rehabilitation.
This love for his son remains, even after the horrible bludgeoning of his wife at the boy’s hands.
After Kurt escapes, we remain for a while with Gary, a hospital security guard, who follows the killer into the woods and tries to stop him. Soon the hunter becomes the prey. In addition, we follow Sheriff Baker, on a mad dash to save his daughter, who is coincidentally out in the woods camping with her friends. The kills and tension build to a climactic showdown between father, sister and brother.
Bait and Switch
Throughout all of this, the hints that something else is going on, seemingly hit the viewer over the head with their obviousness. Kurt Is depicted as having a clown-like, hulking visage, and our security guard character, seems to be overly-terrified all of the time...except when he’s not. Gary is always, conveniently, just able to get away from the killer at key moments. These hints, along with some melodramatic and below-par acting (there’s a reason for this), may begin to take the average viewer, like myself, out of the narrative. Like, really…why am I wasting my time?
Back Door Dump
Frayed manages to pull the rug out from under us a few times during its climax. Clearly, its ambitious nature gets in its own way at times, and the film needs to course correct its viewer more than once. The epilogue/credits sequence, in what may be characterized as a back-door exposition dump, for those looking to criticize it, actually works. The problem is, it’s a bit too much, too late in the film. The ending leaves us to contemplate the monsters among us, but many will consider it a cheat.
See What They Did There?
Note: Consider some of the cliched acting and situations in the film AFTER you’ve watched it all the way through.
To be clear, this is no masterpiece of Horror, but the filmmakers‘ ambitious endeavors earn them top marks. Tonally, however, the overall movie suffers at film’s end, due to the amount of new information that the viewer is forced to digest.
The obvious clues are obvious, indeed, but not for the reasons we think. If you’re going to see it, and I am suggesting that you do, keep it on until the end of the credits.
A few good slasher scares, mixed with a bit of a mystery, some hard-hitting gore, real-life horror, violence, and disturbing psyches, make Frayed, primarily a good time and unique, in parts, to the genre.
© 2019 Maudo Rodriguez