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|“||I didn't kill her, son. I destroyed her. She was a demon. You know, I wasn't so sure I could do it myself. I mean, she looked like a woman to me too. But after I touched her, all I could see was the evil. And I had to do it. I'm sorry you didn't see it too. You will next time.||„|
|~ Dad telling his son Fenton about their "destiny".|
Dad is the main antagonist of the 2001 horror film Frailty. He is a religious zealot who believes that God has tasked him and his two sons with killing demons who inhabit the Earth in human form.
He is portrayed by the film's writer/director, the late Bill Paxton, who also portrayed Chet Donnelly in Weird Science, Randall McCoy in Hatfields & McCoys, John Garrett in Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Severen in Near Dark, and Earl in 2 Guns.
The story takes the form of a story told by serial killer Adam Meiks about the summer in 1979 in which his widowed father (whom he refers to only as "Dad") taught him and his brother Fenton how to "destroy demons".
One night, Dad wakes Fenton and Adam up and tells them that an angel appeared before him and told him that God wants them to destroy demons that have taken human form. He says that the angel will provide him with a list of the "demons". Adam, his younger son, believes him without question, but Fenton thinks Dad has lost his mind.
Dad takes the boys with him when he kills his victims. He ties the victims up, touches their faces, and claims that he has seen a vision of their crime; he then kills them with an axe. After Dad kills two people, Fenton tries to stop him by telling the local sheriff what he has done. Adam lures the sheriff into the family's storm cellar, where Dad kills him. Dad is horrified at having committed murder for what he thinks is the first time, and punishes Fenton for "making him do it" by locking him in the storm cellar in the hopes he will have a "revelation".
Weeks later, Fenton claims to have seen the same angel that Dad saw, and Dad releases him. That night, Dad takes the boys to kill another victim, and hands Fenton the axe so he can prove his faith. Fenton instead strikes Dad with the axe, killing him. Fenton and Adam grow up to become serial killers as well, and Adam "destroys" Fenton because he believes he was a demon all along.
At the end of the film, it is revealed that Dad's victims were indeed guilty of terrible crimes, including child molestation and murder. This plot twist leaves it ambiguous as to whether Dad had really received divine orders to destroy demons, or was simply an insane murderer whose victims just happened to be guilty.
Unlike the traditional portrayal of serial killers in film as cold-blooded psychopaths who know what they are doing is wrong, Dad is portrayed as a kind, gentle, deeply religious man who truly believes he is doing God's will. He is even reluctant to kill at first, until he sees his first victim's crime - murdering her husband for his money - and is so enraged that he murders her without a second thought. When he kills the sheriff, however, he feels great remorse, as he believes that killing the man did not serve any divine purpose and was therefore "just murder".
He is also portrayed as a loving father who is reluctant to involve his sons in the murders, but believes he must in order to serve God's purpose.