There’s a really interesting shift in animation over recent years, they’ve begun heading into really dark territories and tackling some really dark issues. The winning edge that animation has is that they can deal with complex issues like mortality, abandonment, tolerance etc in such outlandish ways to make the messages easy to digest to all audiences. In 2012 they’ve really delved into the horror realm with FRANKENWEENIE and Sony’s big hitter HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA de-scarifying those old scary monster ideas and demystifying the mythology behind them. Even LAIKA’s previous effort CORALINE falls deftly into this darker world and again took the gothic and quite frightening elements of that story and turned it into a dark carnival of visuals.
Their follow up PARANORMAN turns its attention to a young boy who can see and speak to the dead and when, on a fateful evening, 7 people are raised from the dead it’s up to him to save the town.
There are so many elements here that just work for PARANORMAN. The knowing odes to 50’s B-Movie Horror (the opening titles), the never shying away from death, the wonderful stop animation, the openly an unashamed message of tolerance throughout and the non stop sense of fun all work to deliver a cracking genre comedy we’ve not seen since the likes of one of my all time faves MONSTER SQUAD and I even felt a little warm BEETLEJUICE buzz out of it.
The film doesn’t shy away from being intense in sequences, there are a couple of genuinely scary moments that might scare tots of a very young age, but it always surrounded by plenty of humour to give it all levity.
PARANORMAN is a charming, sweet natured and frightfully funny piece of animated lunacy that I was totally taken with. A real winner.
3D PARANORMAN releases in AUSTRALIA on JANUARY 10, 2013 through UNIVERSAL PICTURES