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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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Alphonsus Liguori: 
		<p>Moral theology, Vatican II said, should be more thoroughly nourished by Scripture, and show the nobility of the Christian vocation of the faithful and their obligation to bring forth fruit in charity for the life of the world. Alphonsus, declared patron of moral theologians by Pius XII in 1950, would rejoice in that statement.</p>
		<p>In his day, Alphonsus fought for the liberation of moral theology from the rigidity of Jansenism. His moral theology, which went through 60 editions in the century following him, concentrated on the practical and concrete problems of pastors and confessors. If a certain legalism and minimalism crept into moral theology, it should not be attributed to this model of moderation and gentleness.</p>
		<p>At the University of Naples he received, at the age of 16, a doctorate in both canon and civil law by acclamation, but he soon gave up the practice of law for apostolic activity. He was ordained a priest and concentrated his pastoral efforts on popular (parish) missions, hearing confessions, forming Christian groups. </p>
		<p>He founded the Redemptorist congregation in 1732. It was an association of priests and brothers living a common life, dedicated to the imitation of Christ, and working mainly in popular missions for peasants in rural areas. Almost as an omen of what was to come later, he found himself deserted, after a while, by all his original companions except one lay brother. But the congregation managed to survive and was formally approved 17 years later, though its troubles were not over. </p>
		<p>Alphonsus’ great pastoral reforms were in the pulpit and confessional—replacing the pompous oratory of the time with simplicity, and the rigorism of Jansenism with kindness. His great fame as a writer has somewhat eclipsed the fact that for 26 years he traveled up and down the Kingdom of Naples, preaching popular missions. </p>
		<p>He was made bishop (after trying to reject the honor) at 66 and at once instituted a thorough reform of his diocese. </p>
		<p>His greatest sorrow came toward the end of his life. The Redemptorists, precariously continuing after the suppression of the Jesuits in 1773, had difficulty in getting their Rule approved by the Kingdom of Naples. Alphonsus acceded to the condition that they possess no property in common, but a royal official, with the connivance of a high Redemptorist official, changed the Rule substantially. Alphonsus, old, crippled and with very bad sight, signed the document, unaware that he had been betrayed. The Redemptorists in the Papal States then put themselves under the pope, who withdrew those in Naples from the jurisdiction of Alphonsus. It was only after his death that the branches were united. </p>
		<p>At 71 he was afflicted with rheumatic pains which left incurable bending of his neck; until it was straightened a little, the pressure of his chin caused a raw wound on his chest. He suffered a final 18 months of “dark night” scruples, fears, temptations against every article of faith and every virtue, interspersed with intervals of light and relief, when ecstasies were frequent. </p>
		<p>Alphonsus is best known for his moral theology, but he also wrote well in the field of spiritual and dogmatic theology. His <i>Glories of Mary</i> is one of the great works on that subject, and his book <i>Visits to the Blessed Sacrament</i> went through 40 editions in his lifetime, greatly influencing the practice of this devotion in the Church.</p> American Catholic Blog Ultimately there is no friend who can fully understand us, who can walk with us all the way. We must go forward and walk on our own in response to who we are and who we are called to be in God. —Thomas Merton

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