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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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Monica: The circumstances of St. Monica’s life could have made her a nagging wife, a bitter daughter-in-law and a despairing parent, yet she did not give way to any of these temptations. Although she was a Christian, her parents gave her in marriage to a pagan, Patricius, who lived in her hometown of Tagaste in North Africa. Patricius had some redeeming features, but he had a violent temper and was licentious. Monica also had to bear with a cantankerous mother-in-law who lived in her home. Patricius criticized his wife because of her charity and piety, but always respected her. Monica’s prayers and example finally won her husband and mother-in-law to Christianity. Her husband died in 371, one year after his baptism. 
<p>Monica had at least three children who survived infancy. The oldest, Augustine (August 28) , is the most famous. At the time of his father’s death, Augustine was 17 and a rhetoric student in Carthage. Monica was distressed to learn that her son had accepted the Manichean heresy (all flesh is evil)  and was living an immoral life. For a while, she refused to let him eat or sleep in her house. Then one night she had a vision that assured her Augustine would return to the faith. From that time on, she stayed close to her son, praying and fasting for him. In fact, she often stayed much closer than Augustine wanted. </p><p>When he was 29, Augustine decided to go to Rome to teach rhetoric. Monica was determined to go along. One night he told his mother that he was going to the dock to say goodbye to a friend. Instead, he set sail for Rome. Monica was heartbroken when she learned of Augustine’s trick, but she still followed him. She arrived in Rome only to find that he had left for Milan. Although travel was difficult, Monica pursued him to Milan. </p><p>In Milan, Augustine came under the influence of the bishop, St. Ambrose, who also became Monica’s spiritual director. She accepted his advice in everything and had the humility to give up some practices that had become second nature to her (see Quote, below). Monica became a leader of the devout women in Milan as she had been in Tagaste. </p><p>She continued her prayers for Augustine during his years of instruction. At Easter, 387, St. Ambrose baptized Augustine and several of his friends. Soon after, his party left for Africa. Although no one else was aware of it, Monica knew her life was near the end. She told Augustine, “Son, nothing in this world now affords me delight. I do not know what there is now left for me to do or why I am still here, all my hopes in this world being now fulfilled.” She became ill shortly after and suffered severely for nine days before her death. </p><p>Almost all we know about St. Monica is in the writings of St. Augustine, especially his <i>Confessions</i>.</p> American Catholic Blog The Church really is my mother, too. She isn’t a vague maternal force for a generic collection of anonymous people. This Mother truly nurtures us—each one of us. And for those of us who are baptized Christians, the Church has actually given birth to us on a spiritual level.

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