Nothing says kid-friendly horror film like — the 17th of August.
“ParaNorman” screams Halloween, so why now? Who knows? But it’s so creative, so wonderfully rendered and so delectably frightening that I don’t really care.
A good movie is a good movie, no matter when it’s released.
Norman Babcock (voiced by Kodi Smit-McPhee) is your typical, awkward preteen who doesn’t have many friends, keeps to himself, likes scary stuff and sees dead people.
Yes, poor Norman has the unenviable gift of being able to converse with the dead, and vice versa.
He has a weird, reclusive uncle, Mr. Prenderghast (John Goodman), who also has this gift, but he is getting pretty old and must pass on the knowledge of a town curse to Norman before it’s too late.
Norman’s parents are clueless to his gifts, although they express concern when he talks about his deceased grandma’s ghost hanging out in the living room. Apparently, Norman and Grandma like to watch TV together — even now.
Norman’s best friend, Neil (Tucker Albrizzi), thinks it’s cool that his pal can converse with those from beyond the grave, but Norman’s older sister, Courtney (Anna Kendrick), is, as you might expect, annoyed with Norman — until she, too, witnesses some apparitions with her dreamboat, numbskull, soon-to-be boyfriend, Mitch (Casey Affleck), who happens to be Neil’s older brother.
This unlikely group will be forced to band together, along with school bully Alvin (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), to try to prevent the curse from destroying the entire town. But it will be up to Norman to discover the origins of the curse and figure out a way to make things right before everything goes so horribly wrong.
Yes, there is a spooky factor to this animated tale. And yes, it might be too much for the little ones to handle. The movie is aimed at a bit older crowd that doesn’t mind a little spine-tingling, as well as their parents, whom I’m sure will get a kick out of a movie that’s not afraid to put a little fear into its spook-alley sensibility.
This stop-motion animation comes from the same studio, Laika Entertainment, that brought us the equally frightening “Coraline” — a film even more brilliant than this one, but not by much.
I was all in with “ParaNorman,” even though it is in 3-D. It was never distracting and always used the technology with wit and wisdom.
I haven’t been able to say that about a lot of films, but “ParaNorman” is something special and deserves a wide audience. You should definitely go see it, but expect to be a little freaked out.