Box art for Paranorman


  • Rated PG

action & adventure, anime & animation, children & family, sci-fi & fantasy

From the makers of Coraline comes the magically thrilling story of Norman, a boy who must use his ability to see and speak with the dead to save his town from a centuries-old curse.

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
  • Audience Score

common sense

PAUSE for kids age 9
0 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
0 out of 5
3 out of 5
Positive messages
3 out of 5
Positive role models
2 out of 5
2 out of 5
3 out of 5

Cool-but-creepy monster flick is too scary for little kids.

what parents need to know

Parents need to know that ParaNorman is, above all else, a monster movie, and it will scare little kids. It's animated (stop-motion), but it's full of ghosts, corpses, zombies, and witches and is aimed toward older kids and teens. There are chases, "jump" scenes, characters in peril, frightful zombies with body parts flapping and falling off, creepy houses with looming shadows (and, in the 3-D version, a swarm of bugs bursting out of a teddy bear straight at you), an angry mob with weapons, and much more. The language (lots of insults directed at Norman) and teen hormones (overt flirting and discussion of how "hot" a couple of teen characters are, as well as flashes of cleavage and a broad shirtless chest) are also more mature than in most animated movies for the younger set. There are also hurtful conflicts between parents and kids, some bullying takes place, and a character is revealed to be gay in a low-key way. While it has themes about tolerance and teamwork and could be a great pick for brave older tweens and middle-schoolers, this cool frightfest is very likely to be too much for younger moviegoers to handle.

what families can talk about

  • Families can talk about how everyone can feel lonely and ignored at times, just like Norman. How does Norman change, and how does Neil teach him about the importance of friendship?
  • What audience do you think ParaNorman is intended for? Is it too scary for younger kids? What aspects of the movie make it more mature than the average animated flick?
  • How does Norman deal with bullying at school? Discuss the many ways kids can get bullied these days and what your children should do if they're experiencing it.

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

  • Tomatometer®

    reviews counted: 20
    see all Paranorman reviews
  • Audience


Top Critic Reviews

Fresh: "ParaNorman" took a huge risk on a scarier concept, and it paid off enormously.

- Amanda Mae Meyncke,, Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Fresh: The world of Blithe Hollow exists in real space. The residents have real bags under their eyes, real bellies at their belt buckles. Ugliness alternates with rapturous beauty ...

- Amy Biancolli, San Francisco Chronicle, Thursday, August 16, 2012

Fresh: It may be the most fun you'll have with ghosts and zombies all year.

- Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times, Thursday, August 16, 2012

Audience Reviews

4 stars

Paranorman takes a recycled coming-of-age story, a cliche horror premise, a cast of boring archetypes and turns it into fresh heartfelt adventure full of charm and laughs. Loveable characters, sharp script, and just... and overall feeling of honest heart looms in the air as Norman overcomes loneliness to save his town. It goes to show that reiteration doesn't necessarily mean a bad product. That formulas are there because they work and that genre bending can never really go wrong. It also features some of the best character design, animation style, and storyboard work I've seen in a long time. A truly enjoyable experience!

- fb535316333, Wednesday, September 5, 2012

4 stars

The weird kid who sees ghosts is a town's only hope to save them from a zombie invasion brought about by an ancient witch's curse. Quality animated entertainment in the CORALINE mold; adult fans of cheesy horror movies should dig it, too---this is the first time I've caught a visible boom mic in an animated movie.

- 366weirdmovies, Wednesday, September 5, 2012

4 stars

img]] The key issue with a lot of the mainstream animated fares released today is how they all recycle the same dull gags that we've sat through countless times before. If you throw into that mix some adult-orientated humour to try and suck up to the parents who treat their kids to the movies, the film makers think they can get away with making a formulaic flick. However ParaNorman is one of the very few exceptions. Firstly, there are many gags in the film that the whole family can enjoy, so one of it's many triumphs is how it suceeds with the basics. Secondly in very equal measure it throws in some chilling horror set pieces that I found very terrifying and rightfully alienating. All of the best animated movies appeal to all ages and the easiest way to do that is with laughs, but ParaNorman goes further and bravely attempts to scare you as well, and I think it very well succeeds. I quite proudly won't deny that I laughed and squirmed many times watching it and found the surrealist stop motion animation beautiful and the cinematography perfect. This may even scare some adults and there are very few animated films that can do that. It boasts a massively original premise and ticks every category that you'd expect from something that's a cut above your average animated film. There's a general vibe that the voice actors dedicated themselves to the characters and truly admired the story in their performances. I think they were very right to do so because it perfectly clashes two differing genres into one amazing film, which truly respects it's audience giving a fair share of material to filmgoers ranging from the young children to the horror fanboys. It's funny, and it's scary, and maybe it's just the fact I understood the in-jokes that it worked so well for me, but if you just want to be entertained you would be right going to see ParaNorman. It's sweet but sour, cute but edgy and is in the end a decently put together family film, but also a great homage to the scuzzy horror movies and slapstick comedies that it draws influences from. Highly recommended.

- aquateen2, Friday, October 5, 2012