Monday 28 Jul

Escape from Tomorrow

With Escape from Tomorrow, one fears the story behind the movie would loom larger than the movie itself. Luckily, that is not the case. After all, it opens with a decapitation on Disney World’s Big Thunder Mountain Railroad roller coaster.
05/06/2014 | Comments 0


William Friedkin spends a lot of time in his 2013 memoir discussing why Sorcerer didn't click with critics and audiences even though he believes it to be better than his previous film, The Exorcist. Now that Warner Home Video has reissued Sorcerer on Blu-ray, we can see what Friedkin's fuss is all about.
04/23/2014 | Comments 0

Broadchurch: The Complete First Season

Welcome to the coastal resort of Broadchurch, population … oh, who can keep track, what will all the corpses? Yes, Broadchurch is yet another British television procedural involving the search for a murderer in a quaint little town, just like the limited series The Fall and Top of the Lake.
04/23/2014 | Comments 0

Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones

Essentially part five in the ridiculously profitable horror franchise, Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones continues the found-footage conceit of the other films. The difference is instead of the scares taking place in rich white suburbia, they do so in a junky apartment complex on a largely Latino side of Oxnard, Calif.
04/23/2014 | Comments 0

Holy Ghost People

Holy Ghost People examines two sisters whose bond is torn — but by what? After her sibling has been missing for more than a year, Charlotte (Emma Greenwell, TV's Shameless) intends to find out.
04/15/2014 | Comments 0
Home · Articles · Movies · Youth · ParaNorman


None August 15th, 2012

If you haven’t seen 2009’s Coraline, you might be more inclined to surrender yourself to the macabre charm of ParaNorman. Both films, works of stop-motion animation by the Oregon-based Laika company, share much in common: an outcast protagonist, ineffectual grown-ups, visually stunning riffs on the supernatural.

But while Coraline sustained a masterful level of Grimm-like creepiness, ParaNorman is only fitfully brilliant.

The premise is promising. Eleven-year-old Norman Babcock (voiced by Kodi Smit-McPhee, Let Me In) has a familiar problem: He sees dead people. Lots of ’em, actually, which makes him something of a pariah in the hamlet of Blithe Hollow, Mass. His only pal is Neil (Tucker Albrizzi, TV’s Good Luck Charlie), a chubby kid who isn’t thrown off by Norman’s frequent conversations with the dearly departed.

Boasting a casket full of horror-flick references, ParaNorman tosses its prepubescent hero into some mumbo-jumbo about the town being cursed by an 18th-century witch, and Norman being the only one to stop it. The escalating dread fuels some wonderfully grotesque sight gags involving decaying zombies and sundry stubborn corpses, and Jon Brion’s music score adds beautifully to the weirdness.

The script proves less successful.

ParaNorman conjures up mood galore, but the script by Chris Butler, who directs here with Sam Fell (The Tale of Despereaux), settles for thin characterization and a storyline that seems like a patchwork of other movies. Lovely animation and strong voice work — from the likes of Casey Affleck, Leslie Mann, Jeff Garlin, Anna Kendrick and John Goodman — almost makes you forget you’ve seen this all before.

One final note, parents: Don’t be lulled by the PG rating. Some scenes might be a bit too scary for the smallest moviegoers.

Hey! Read This:
• Coraline film review 

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