Review of 'Paranorman'

paranorman.jpg Norman is a young boy living in Blithe Hollow, where witch trials occurred in the distant past, who is an outsider. You see, Norman can see and talk to the spirits of the dead that inhabit his town. One day he learns from his rather eccentric uncle of a annual ritual that must be performed to protect the town from a curse placed on it by a condemned witch many years ago. Failing in this task will result in the dead coming back to life and terrorizing the town.

No prizes for guessing what happens.

Using stop-motion animation this film was quite a surprise to me: Witty, fun and, well, different than anything else I had ever seen before. The animation is charming and wonderful. The story is interesting, unique and, unexpectedly, quite moving. The characters are fun and amusing. What's more to like?

Paranorman is quite macabre making me wonder how quite young children might react to it though, having said that, children tend to like the macabre. The scene where Norman attempts to prize a book from the hands of a corpse particularly stands out as illustrating this. The end message is particularly clear and the resolution quite a bit of a surprise. Paranorman will not, however, win any prizes for the deepest story around but I would not expect that here.

The dialogue is simple but witty with the characterization spot on. I found the school chums that Norman teams up with to be terrifically amusing and fun.

A great spooky adventure “for all ages”.

Rating: “Nearly perfect, but not quite”

Review Date: 2016-01-09

Directed by: Chris Butler and Sam Fell

Studio: Focus Features

Year: 2012

Length: 92 minutes

Genre: Animation

Other reviewed films by Sam Fell: