ParaNorman REVIEW

Release Date: 14 September 2012
PG | 92 minutes
Distributor: Universal Pictures
Directors: Sam Fell, Chris Butler
Cast: Kodi Smit-McPhee, Anna Kendrick, Tucker Albrizzi, Casey Affleck, Christopher Mintz-Plasse

A zombie movie aimed squarely at children, eh? What has the world come to? Surely zombies are way too scary for our precious youth?

Baloney. If young ’uns can watch Doctor Who and love the scary bits to pieces, they’ll bloody adore ParaNorman, replete as it is with spooky houses, creepy forests and groaning zombies with bits that drop off. Let’s face it: kids love to be scared.

There are a few downsides, however. This tale of a boy named Norman (voiced by Kodi Smit-McPhee), who can see ghosts and must fight a zombie curse laid on his town, is possibly a little too preachy. The anti-bullying subplot is laid on a tad thick, as is the message about how being different isn’t a bad thing. But that’s more to the irritation of adult viewers than their offspring, because all they’ll remember are the parts that made them jump or the gross-out moments (you’ll never look at a dead man’s tongue the same way again…).

ParaNorman comes from Laika, the stopmotion team behind Coraline, and it looks so sumptuous you could eat it with a spoon. The voice cast are wonderful and most of the one-liners and slapstick set-ups are hilarious – although the pacing could do with a bit of a kick up the bum at times. The script also fondly homages zombie clichés while not including too many that go above children’s heads. It’s probably a tad too scary for really small humans, but anyone from seven upwards will find ParaNorman’s adventures firmly stick in their braaaiiinnns.

Jayne Nelson

Watch our video interview with the directors of ParaNorman.
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