ParaNorman (2012) - Rotten Tomatoes

ParaNorman (2012)



Critic Consensus: Beautifully animated and solidly scripted, ParaNorman will entertain (and frighten) older children while providing surprisingly thoughtful fare for their parents.

Movie Info

The new 3D stop-motion comedy thriller from animation company LAIKA, reteaming the company with Focus Features after the groundbreaking Academy Award-nominated Coraline. ParaNorman is, following Coraline, the company's second stop-motion animated feature to be made in 3D. In ParaNorman, a small town comes under siege by zombies. Who can it call? Only misunderstood local boy Norman (Kodi Smit-McPhee), who is able to speak with the dead. In addition to the zombies, he'll have to take on ghosts, witches and, worst, of all, grown-ups, to save his town from a centuries-old curse. But this young ghoul whisperer may find his paranormal activities pushed to their otherworldly limits. -- (C) Focusmore
Rating: PG (for scary action and images, thematic elements, some rude humor and language)
Genre: Action & Adventure, Animation, Kids & Family, Comedy
Directed By: , , ,
Written By: Chris Butler, Chris Butler
In Theaters:
On DVD: Nov 27, 2012
Box Office: $56.0M
Focus Features - Official Site


Kodi Smit-McPhee
as Norman Babcock
Anna Kendrick
as Courtney
Leslie Mann
as Sandra Babcock
Jeff Garlin
as Perry Babcock
John Goodman
as Mr. Prenderghast
Bernard Hill
as The Judge
Alex Borstein
as Mrs. Henscher
Tempestt Bledsoe
as Sheriff Hooper
Jack Blessing
as Slob Guy/Civil War G...
Ranjani Brow
as Movie Lady
Michael Corbett
as Movie Zombie
David Cowgill
as Greaser Ghost
Emily Hahn
as Sweet Girl
Bridget Hoffman
as Crystal/Parachutist ...
Wendy Hoffman
as Gucci Lady
Holly Klein
as Hair Dryer Ghost
Alicia Lagono
as Female Tourist
Scott Menville
as Deputy Dwayne/Rapper...
Nick Petok
as Blithe Hollow Kid
Ariel Winter
as Blithe Hollow Kid
Alicia Lagano
as Female Tourist
Steve Alterman
as Blithe Hollow Townsp...
Kirk Baily
as Blithe Hollow Townsp...
Jacob Bertrand
as Blithe Hollow Townsp...
Liz Bolton
as Blithe Hollow Townsp...
Ava Benavente
as Bilthe Hollow Townsp...
Cam Clarke
as Blithe Hollow Townsp...
Lara Cody
as Blithe Hollow Townsp...
Caitlin Rose Cutt
as Blithe Hollow Townsp...
Susan Dudeck
as Blithe Hollow Townsp...
Denise Faye
as Blithe Hollow Townsp...
Eddie Frierson
as Blithe Hollow Townsp...
Matthew Fold Holt
as Blithe Hollow Townsp...
Rif Hutton
as Blithe Hollow Townsp...
David Joliff
as Blithe Hollow Townsp...
Ashley Lambert
as Blithe Hollow Townsp...
Donna Lynn Leavy
as Blithe Hollow Townsp...
Evan Mehta
as Blithe Hollow Townsp...
Edie Mirman
as Blithe Hollow Townsp...
Juan Pacheo
as Blithe Hollow Townsp...
Kelsey Rootenberg
as Blithe Hollow Townsp...
Joshua Michael Stern
as Blithe Hollow Townsp...
Dave Zyler
as Blithe Hollow Townsp...
Michael Corbett
as Movie Zombie
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for ParaNorman

Critic Reviews for ParaNorman

All Critics (165) | Top Critics (35)

Brings with it a very relevant and important moral that bears pondering by fans.

Full Review… | November 11, 2015
Cinema Crazed

Sweet, morbid, funny, clever, and occasionally brilliant.

Full Review… | August 26, 2015

It's sort of like what The Goonies might've been, had The Goonies been beautifully animated and not terrible.

Full Review… | May 12, 2015
The Improper Bostonian

ParaNorman treats its viewers with respect, and is all the more wonderful for it.

Full Review… | October 18, 2013
The National

The thrilling finale is a terrific blend of heartfelt emotion, surreal visuals and inventive ghostly spectacle, and the film's timeless message is put across in wonderfully ghoulish and surprising ways.

Full Review… | October 6, 2013
Radio Times

Is there such a thing as a gateway drug for horror films? If so, ParaNorman might be just the ticket.

Full Review… | October 6, 2013
National Post

Audience Reviews for ParaNorman


The animation is really original and well done, the effort that had to go into this film alone makes you want to appreciate it. Sadly, the story isn't much help after a decent start. While it is likable that the film tries to stay surprising and avoid stereotypes the plot becomes a bit of a mess in the second half. It's also surprisingly gritty and not exactly for all children. Somewhat disappointing.

Jens S.

Super Reviewer

From the same studio that created the delightfully creepy "Coraline" comes another family horror flick that once again boasts great stop-motion animation. Unfortunately, it's a shame to report that the rest of the film is not nearly as finely crafted in other areas.

It's not like the narrative didn't contain an interesting premise, that which follows a socially awkward boy named Norman, who has the uncanny ability to talk to the dead. Norman is an immediately sympathetic figure because nobody believes in his special ability and the small town society he lives in socially and emotionally rejects him due to this, especially his parents. However, as the story picks up things become significantly less interesting (Norman's ability never ends up having any significant bearing on the plot).

The two biggest problems stem from two sources: the characters and tone. The characters are in short: boring and painfully one-dimensional. Even Norman himself goes underdeveloped, almost as if the script was way more interested in giving screen time to the supporting cast. Speaking of the supporting characters, most of them are forgettable archetypes (the fat geek kid, the jock bully, the blond girl) that mostly exist to tell jokes and nothing else. This leads to the next crippling prevalent issue, a good majority of the humor in this film fall completely flat due to inept comedic timing or being lame cliché jokes that have been used in so many other past films.

The whole affair also feels tonally confused, with the horror and family film elements not nearly as well balanced as they were in "Coraline". The main threat in this film consists of resurrected Puritan zombies and they never end up coming off as a foreboding threat. It's as if the writer's were more interesting in the visual gag possibilities of the zombies rather than establishing them as a credible threat (Heck, it seemed like even without Norman the zombies would have been easily defeated by the town's people). On one end, kids may get a kick at some of the jokes but meanwhile adults will most likely be bored with the overly simplistic drawn-out narrative and half-baked horror elements.

Once again, it's not like the film was completely unsalvageable. There is a third-act plot twist that is actually legitimately heart-breaking and leads to by far the best scene in the entire movie (at least the most emotionally charged section that was thankfully devoid of forced jokes). It also leads to an admirable life lesson about accepting others and dashes of slightly daring social commentary (at least, for a kids film) regarding society's treatment of outsiders. It's just a shame that the sequence came so late into the film because it only served as a reminder for it's wasted potential.

In the end, "Paranorman" serves as an example of a good idea that was terribly executed. Great animation and an interesting premise are buried six feet under a crappy narrative, awful pacing, poorly written humor, and jarring tonal inconsistencies.

Christopher Heim
Christopher Heim

Super Reviewer


This has to be one of the most surprising, awe inspiring, and beautiful films of the year, and on top of that it's a children's film. Laika, a new studio on the scene, made this film in a revolutionary style, akin to "Coraline," but in 3D. The studio took a chance on a very quirky and independent kind of film, and it's these studios that are bringing out newer and better concepts for children's faire. Not only is this film morbid, but it's also revolutionary when it comes to its characters. Maybe some of the templates are still there, but the characters themselves are completely different, and certainly entertaining. Our hero Norman (Smit-McPhee) is odd of course while also having a supernatural power, which makes him even odder and plainly different than the antagonizing children around him. Really, the kids in this film are overtly mean, and though it's a bit over the top it is realistic. Norman is interested in zombies and death, because he speaks to the dead, and while this is set up very ingeniously, it's also swift for us to realize that this kid isn't normal Norman. The other supporting characters seem as usual as you get in a kid's film, but there are some surprises. The pudgy kid who gets all the laughs is much more sincere than the usual slack-jawed numb nuts stereotype. The typical jock gets a major upgrade and changed the face of children's movies, maybe forever. The visuals in this are as amazing as you would expect from stop motion puppetry through computer animation. Besides the characters being weird, so are the settings, the zombies, and the villain is the most impressive witch to be featured in a children's film in years. Besides being a strange alternative for most kids it also has a great message and goes against bullying, which is always good. This is one of the best films to show a child, especially those that are strange themselves.

Spencer S.

Super Reviewer

ParaNorman Quotes

– Submitted by Miles F (17 months ago)
– Submitted by Miles F (17 months ago)
– Submitted by Alfred B (20 months ago)
– Submitted by Isabella M (2 years ago)

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