It somehow passed me by that the Isle of Wight was the location for Fragile - a horror film in 2005 starring Calista Flockhart. I was mostly on the mainland at the time, but I was back home regularly and was something of a film fan at the time (though not a film buff by any means), but I guess it didn’t quite make it to a widescale theatrical release.
Anyway, 11 years later I finally got around to watching it.
The general idea of the film is that nurse Calista Flockhart plods around a dilapidated Isle of Wight hospital, looking more miserable than the patients whilst unpleasant things start to happen to the children. Slow piano music and the decision to filter out most of the colour in the film turns it into something of a misery-fest which I found myself fast forwarding through after 20 minutes.
Things did finally pick up and it became moderately intriguing, but don’t expect great things from a film which was clearly scrabbling around for complimentary reviews to fill up the front cover. The best available was ‘Gorezone Magazine’ (no, me neither) declaring it the ‘most relentlessly scary movie of the year’.
But of course, I wasn’t all that interested in the actual plot, and was much more curious about the background scenes.
The first glimpse of my beloved Isle of Wight was the ferry crossing – classic intro stuff for any film or TV programme featuring the Isle of Wight. Usually we see The Hairy Bikers or Mary Berry or whoever arriving in glorious sunshine, but in this case we see a bizarre medley of ferry companies and crossings.
In between shots of Calista looking worried at the odd bed sheet flapping, lift collapsing or blood spurting we get to see a couple of shots of Union Street in Ryde, another couple of shots of the Compton Farm area and a residential street which I must admit I didn’t recognise. If it was on the Island I’d guess it was Ryde.
According to Wikipedia, the outside shots of the hospital are Berkshire. No signs of St Mary’s Hospital or the famous Koan I’m afraid.
There wasn’t a whiff of sunshine, which I suppose might ruin the mood of a dreary ghost story, but it might have cheered me up at least.
I don't want to ruin the grand finale for anyone else who has been planning on watching Fragile, but hasn't quite managed it in the last 11 years...but the whole thing is about as much fun as a punch in the face.
Perhaps becoming a parent has made me a little less tolerant of horror films about children in anguish but nowadays I'd much rather watch a slightly rose tinted view of the Isle of Wight where the sun always shines and everything happens in slow motion. Something like this by SBG films:
Cheer up world.
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