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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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Maria Goretti: One of the largest crowds ever assembled for a canonization—250,000—symbolized the reaction of millions touched by the simple story of Maria Goretti. 
<p>She was the daughter of a poor Italian tenant farmer, had no chance to go to school, never learned to read or write. When she made her First Communion not long before her death at age 12, she was one of the larger and somewhat backward members of the class. </p><p>On a hot afternoon in July, Maria was sitting at the top of the stairs of her house, mending a shirt. She was not quite 12 years old, but physically mature. A cart stopped outside, and a neighbor, Alessandro, 18 years old, ran up the stairs. He seized her and pulled her into a bedroom. She struggled and tried to call for help. “No, God does not wish it," she cried out. "It is a sin. You would go to hell for it.” Alessandro began striking at her blindly with a long dagger. </p><p>She was taken to a hospital. Her last hours were marked by the usual simple compassion of the good—concern about where her mother would sleep, forgiveness of her murderer (she had been in fear of him, but did not say anything lest she cause trouble to his family) and her devout welcoming of Viaticum, her last Holy Communion. She died about 24 hours after the attack. </p><p>Her murderer was sentenced to 30 years in prison. For a long time he was unrepentant and surly. One night he had a dream or vision of Maria, gathering flowers and offering them to him. His life changed. When he was released after 27 years, his first act was to go to beg the forgiveness of Maria’s mother. </p><p>Devotion to the young martyr grew, miracles were worked, and in less than half a century she was canonized. At her beatification in 1947, her mother (then 82), two sisters and a brother appeared with Pope Pius XII on the balcony of St. Peter’s. Three years later, at her canonization, a 66-year-old Alessandro Serenelli knelt among the quarter-million people and cried tears of joy.</p> American Catholic Blog Lord, may the medals we wear be constant reminders of the lives they depict. While wearing them, may we be blessed through the saints’ intercession and protected from harm. Help us to continue to spread the messages of Jesus and Mary and the saints and angels.

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