Plot : A misunderstood/isolated young boy who can see ghosts, has a deadly premonition that a witch (that his town is ‘famous’ for killing) will return and wreak havoc.
Production : Directed by Sam Fell & Chris Butler, starring Kodi Smit-McPhee (The Road, Let Me In) as the protagonist Norman, Tucker Albrizzi as Neil, the ginger sidekick, Anna Kendrick (elder cheerleader sister), Casey Affleck as Mitch (his sister’s boyfriend) and Christopher Mintz-Plasse (Superbad, Kick-Ass) as Alvin the school bully. All do a great job with their voice acting.
Much like Norman himself, this children’s comedy-horror is charmingly oddball, with a love for the genre. It’s simple storyline and progression make it easier for jokes, scares (well…) and getting a simple point across without being preachy. It’s animation is delightfully stop-motion (it’s made by the same team who made Coraline) and the 3D works surprisingly well. Timing of the jokes and delivery is spot on. Art style is like the happy younger brother of Tim Burton. Paranorman successfully gets you to care about the protagonists and the smulchy ending isn’t too overbearing – hopefully you’ll land on it the same side of the fence as I did. As it’s a children’s horror they’re never in any real peril, which might take some of the drama away (and so make it slightly boring) but there’s enough fun lines, facials and references to keep you interested.
Overall : You’d already know if you’re gonna be interested in this film! But I quite enjoyed it and would recommend. A well-made, charming children’s comedy-horror.