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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

Fright Night

By
John Mulderig
Source: Catholic News Service

Initially restrained bloodletting gives way to gore galore in the horror-comedy mix "Fright Night" (Disney). As penned by Marti Noxon (TV's "Buffy the Vampire Slayer"), moreover, the script for director Craig Gillespie's nocturnal remake of the 1985 cult classic of the same title is peppered with obscenities from beginning to end.

Set in a physical and spiritual wasteland—a small Levittown-style suburb on the outskirts of Las Vegas that eerie opening shots reveal to be surrounded by the Nevada desert—this is the story of ex-geek and current cool dude Charley Brewster (Anton Yelchin).

Charley's rise up the teen social ladder has gained him the love interest of comely classmate Amy (Imogen Poots). But it's also required him to ditch his still-nerdy best friend of boyhood days, Ed (Christopher Mintz-Plasse).

So when Ed insists on pestering Charley with his wild claim that Charley's new neighbor Jerry (Colin Farrell) is a vampire responsible for the sudden disappearance of a number of their school chums, Charley is inclined to chalk it up to Ed's overheated, Dungeons and Dragons-haunted imagination.

Until, that is, Ed himself disappears, leaving behind such evidence of Jerry's real nature as videotapes on which—true to bloodsucker lore—Jerry is present, but invisible.

Fearful that the toothy predator's next victim could be either Amy or his flirtatious divorced mom Jane (Toni Collette), Charley seeks the aid of occult-obsessed illusionist Peter Vincent (David Tennant). A dissolute Brit whose decadent booze-and-broads lifestyle is currently financed by a successful show on the Strip, Peter bills himself as an expert on the undead.

"Fright Night's" intentionally jarring contrast of glum realism and occult fantasy is occasionally intriguing. And the proceedings do yield some fun humor; Ed, for instance, is grievously insulted when Charley accuses him of being a "Twilight" fan, while hard-drinking Peter's tipple of choice is not scotch or bourbon but the melon-flavored liqueur Midori.

Yet the blood spurting and vulgarity spouting soon extinguish such flickers of wit.

Equally troublesome is a portrayal of teen sexuality that implies that there's something abnormal in the fact that Charley and Amy—high school seniors both who therefore may or may not be of age—have yet to sleep together. Midway through, Amy is ready to change this, but Charley is too distracted by his pursuit of Jerry to take advantage of the opportunity.

By the time the credits are about to roll, however, circumstances have changed, and the off-screen result is presented as something of a reward for our hero, and the consummation, so to speak, of a happy ending.

The film contains excessive graphic violence, a benign view of teen sexual activity, brief rear nudity, several uses of profanity and pervasive rough and crude language. The Catholic News Service classification is O—morally offensive. The Motion Picture Association of America is R—restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.

*****
John Mulderig is on the staff of Catholic News Service.





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Philip Neri: Philip Neri was a sign of contradiction, combining popularity with piety against the background of a corrupt Rome and a disinterested clergy, the whole post-Renaissance malaise. 
<p>At an early age, he abandoned the chance to become a businessman, moved to Rome from Florence and devoted his life and individuality to God. After three years of philosophy and theology studies, he gave up any thought of ordination. The next 13 years were spent in a vocation unusual at the time—that of a layperson actively engaged in prayer and the apostolate. </p><p>As the Council of Trent (1545-63) was reforming the Church on a doctrinal level, Philip’s appealing personality was winning him friends from all levels of society, from beggars to cardinals. He rapidly gathered around himself a group of laypersons won over by his audacious spirituality. Initially they met as an informal prayer and discussion group, and also served poor people in Rome. </p><p>At the urging of his confessor, he was ordained a priest and soon became an outstanding confessor, gifted with the knack of piercing the pretenses and illusions of others, though always in a charitable manner and often with a joke. He arranged talks, discussions and prayers for his penitents in a room above the church. He sometimes led “excursions” to other churches, often with music and a picnic on the way. </p><p>Some of his followers became priests and lived together in community. This was the beginning of the Oratory, the religious institute he founded. A feature of their life was a daily afternoon service of four informal talks, with vernacular hymns and prayers. Giovanni Palestrina was one of Philip’s followers, and composed music for the services. </p><p>The Oratory was finally approved after suffering through a period of accusations of being an assembly of heretics, where laypersons preached and sang vernacular hymns! (Cardinal Newman founded the first English-speaking house of the Oratory three centuries later.) </p><p>Philip’s advice was sought by many of the prominent figures of his day. He is one of the influential figures of the Counter-Reformation, mainly for converting to personal holiness many of the influential people within the Church itself. His characteristic virtues were humility and gaiety.</p> American Catholic Blog We need do no more than we are doing at present; that is, to love divine Providence and abandon ourselves in his arms and heart.<br />—St. Padre Pio

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