Box art for Paranorman


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

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

3 stars

The stop-motion works great and the film is surprisingly very funny (I was expecting something more along the lines of "Coraline"). There are a few references to classic horror films as well, which is pretty cool. It's a decent story, although near the end things get a bit too sentimental for my taste which sort of strays from the tone of film. Otherwise, it's very entertaining and I found myself laughing quite a bit. There's some adult humor in there as well, which I always love to see in 'kids' films.

- edfilmreviews, Sunday, September 30, 2012

3 stars

Finally we get another 'Nightmare Before Christmas' type flick! Been waiting for this and yet amazingly it isn't Tim Burton behind the camera or script. Can't deny that's the first thought that entered my head...'this is a Tim Burton film...surely!'. But no this isn't, its completely Burton free and what's more its pretty darn good. Visuals up first of course, what can I say, they look flippin great!. A blend of clay-mation with a hint of CGI in places but in that nice old school way which hasn't been made deliberately perfect. Characters, buildings, backgrounds etc...are not created exactly symmetrical but with a slightly twisted and dare I say...Tim Burton-ish approach (can't get around saying that sorry). Kooky is a good description word here. The colour palette is also quite nice and offers a bold yet shaded range giving off a cozy comicbook feel. Animation wise its really slick too, smoother than other well known clay-mation films and with great depth in backdrops and vista's, loved the evil looking sky towards the end. The whole zombie thing is cool and for some reason made me think of 'Thriller', I guess because this film actually has some quite semi scary moments. Usual mix of hocus pocus, curses and regular 'kids film type characters' but big close ups on undead faces, screaming howling zombies, zombie limbs flying off, evil witch forces and the odd small jumpy moment make this more for the older teen viewer. Visuals will entice the kids but the content will be appreciated more by slightly older kids/teens. The story does turns out to be quite sweet in the end I might add, the finale is quite moving and in a way detracts from what has gone before really. Almost a total swing in mood from horror comedy to nice fairytale bookend. Lots of nice touches throughout, I really liked how Norman is the only person who can see ghosts around the town. Nothing original there but a nice spooky 'Beetlejuice' 'The Frighteners' flavour, wish we had seen much more of that. I knew I would like this as the whole concept is right up my alley and I'm sure anyone who enjoyed films like 'Nightmare Before Christmas' 'Corpse Bride' 'Monster House' etc...will enjoy this. Not overly original and characters aren't overly inspired but a fun haunted little ride with some cute lines of comedy and lovely visuals, just wish the ending wasn't so weepy.

- phubbs1, Sunday, September 23, 2012