Laika’s ParaNorman is the heart-warming tale of a young boy who sees dead people, which, as Bruce Willis knows, is always a winner.
More interested in hanging out with his dead grandma than the living people around him, Norman (voiced by Kodi Smit-McPhee) is just your average misunderstood paranormal 11 year old until he has to help save his town from a witch’s curse (oh, and zombies).
While the story is a little predictable, it’s still sweet and entertaining. There are some endearing and funny moments, mostly dependent on the mix of conventional horror tropes and realistic domestic comedy, such as Norman and his sister being chastised by their mother for squabbling with one of the zombies in the back seat of the family car. There are also several more self-aware “adult” moments which set it apart from the average kids’ film. The stop-motion animation amongst the standard CGI gives it a classic edge, particularly alongside the out-of-proportion character design.
While there could have been a few extra horror references for the movie-buffs and more shocking twists and turns, ParaNorman is an enjoyable watch with a superbly balanced blend of mock-horror and comedy.