Time Out Melbourne

An entire generation of children may grow up to be zombie-obsessed, black-clad emo kids as a result of watching ParaNorman, the spooky second stop-motion animation from Laika, the American studio that gave us 2009’s Coraline. This gem is just as beautifully hand-crafted, but it’s definitely not one for scaredy-kids (or possibly even timid parents). Take the opening scene. Eleven-year-old Norman watches a video nasty, in which a busty B-movie blonde, fleeing a pack of zombies, skewers a juicy-fresh prawn-coloured human brain with her stiletto heel. Squelch.

At school, Norman is nicknamed Ab-Norman. Pale, interesting, with electro-shock hair (and voiced by the current go-to kid for creepiness, Kodi Smit-McPhee of Let Me In fame), he’s a training-crush for Robert Pattinson. Oh, and he can see ghosts. That doesn’t go down too well with Norman’s dad, who fears his son’s fascination with all things undead is a gateway hobby to ‘limp-wristed hippy stuff’.

The plot, as terrifically sophisticated as it is – involving a New England Puritan witchhunt and a centuries-old hex – does drag a bit. No matter, there are plenty of bogey-green yammering zombies on the rampage. And Laika’s dazzling visual vocabularly really does give Pixar a run for its money. The detail, down to the zombies’ tombstone teeth (well, dentistry wasn’t up to much in the seventeenth century) is breathtaking, and there are some brilliant gags – like when Norman struggles to wrench a book of spells from the rigor-mortis-stiff hands of a corpse. Ghoulish? Yes. Funny? You bet.

More films & film festivals in Melbourne? Sign up for our Weekend Planner

By Cath Clarke   |  

ParaNorman details

Length: 92 minutes

Country of origin: USA

Year of production: 2012

Classification: PG - Parental guidance advised

Showing 10 Jan 2013-20 Feb 2013

Director: Chris Butler, Sam Fell

Cast: Kodi Smit-McPhee, Anna Kendrick, Casey Affleck

Petit Piknic

Petit Piknic

Melbourne's got the most fun, family-friendly Sunday session at Piknic Electronik

Readers' comments, reviews, hints and pictures

Community guidelines

blog comments powered by Disqus

Get the Time Out weekend planner. Straight to your inbox, every Thursday.
Read more