Wait for it…

frayed 2007

FRAYED

3 Stars  2007/15/111m

“You can’t escape your darkest fear.”

Directors/Writers: Rob Portman & Norbert Caoili / Writers: Kurt Svennungsen, Dino Moore, Dana Svennungsen / Cast: Tony Doupe, Aaron Blakely, Alena Dashiell, Tasha Smith, Kellee Bradley, Don Brady, Dino Moore, Colin Byrne, Quinlan Corbett, Tim Evans, Rachel Pate.

Body Count: 11

Laughter Lines: “I know how to warm you girls up – every time I fart, you guys drink.”


This was headed for 2-star city for about 105 of its 111-minute running time. Unavoidable partial spoilers follow, because when I happened to read the five words “if you’ve seen Haute Tension…” I thought I had it all figured out.

In September 1994, five-year-old Sara’s birthday party is hijacked by her annoying older brother, Kurt, who is sent to his room by his mom. She later comes to talk to him and is thanked by being beaten to death with a baseball bat and little Kurt is packed off to an institution.

Years later – thirteen, I’m guessing (yay! it’s not a multiple of five!) – the doctors at the clinic feel he’s failed to make significant progress and arrange for him to be transferred elsewhere. Meanwhile, his father, the local sheriff, allows Sara to go camping with her BFF Vanessa, much to the annoyance of her stepmother.

frayed 2007 tasha smith alena dashiell

We cut to a young security guard frantically searching the woods when he takes a tumble – or is shoved – down an embankment. He’s rescued by a motorist but they are attacked by a clown-masked psycho who kills the driver and accosts him through the woods. In this scene, some 25 minutes through, I figured out that the guard and the killer were one and the same. From this point on, only he sees the loon, yelling about his presence all the time, but nobody else ever reacts to the killer, only ‘Gary’s’ shrieking that he’s coming.

The focus eventually drifts back to the family home where brother and sister will face off. He realises who he is (or isn’t, whatever), lots of “get out of me!”-style antics ensue until Papa comes home brandishing his gun. I confess I yawned, wondering how it had a fairly favourable IMDb rating after extended scenes of girl hyperventilating in their hiding places, off-camera killings, and too much talk, with the big “the call is coming from inside the house!” moment skewered by the fact this revelation was obvious an hour ago.

frayed 2007

But then… Frayed goes one step further and then another step, hurling twists all over the show, ending the film in a very grim, downbeat way, but at least one I didn’t see coming a mile off. It’s as if they used the Haute Tension twist to cover up for the mechanics of the real twist happening underneath. Still, the film is in dire need of a good 15-20 minutes being cropped off, as the midriff is hard terrain and more focus could’ve gone into making the stalk-n-slasher section better, but just about worth it for the eventual payoff.

3 comments

  • I was mildly disappointed when I saw this as I was expecting it perhaps to be slightly better due to reading some good things about it online before watching. I actually was of a bit of an opposite opinion to you though in that I enjoyed it more as it was in the earlier stages building up to the end and then when the end actually came I was a bit let down. I thought it tried a bit too hard to be clever with the double twist thing and as a result came across as a bit confusing. Too cerebral and requiring too much thought if you like whereas I prefer slashers to be a bit more straight forward. It had some very decent creepy moments though and is well worth catching I’d say.

    What’s up with that cover art though? Don’t think that guy with the blue face paint stuff around his eye was actually in the movie! If I remember rightly the Australian cover art is better as that actually features the clown.

  • I, too, waited and found the twist(s) a bit… “eh”. It was good but, kinda underwhelming.

    @Rob

    In a way, the cover spoiled one of the twists. That guy is in the movie. (Minus the stitches. I dunno where that came from…)

  • It wasn’t a groundbreaking twist, but it took the film to a much darker place than the first two thirds, which were kinda dry and slack.

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