I can’t remember ever having reviewed a kids’ movie on here before and in going through my list of flicks to watch, and not being up for Pet Sematary, thought I’d check out something lighter.
Clearly the name of the movie is a play on the word “paranormal” and is extra fun since Norman is one of the great classic names in horror. The artwork is really great. It’s a fun mix of creepy and spooky imagery but in a kind of cute way that makes it more fun than frightening, especially for young audiences.
The movie follows the tale of Norman, a boy who can see ghosts meaning everyone thinks he’s absolutely nuts. But in this small New England town he learns that a witch’s curse is about to come true bringing the dead to life. It’s a great mix of the paranormal and has a cool feel to it a lot like Beetlejuice.
– This was the first film to use a 3-D printer to make the characters’ faces which look great.
– The attention to detail in this movie is incredible. Norman’s phone beeps playing the theme from Halloween. He’s gets a text and when he looks out the window his buddy is there wearing a hockey mask just like Jason Voorhees. These little touches make the movie feel like a more fun, rich experience.
– The dialogue really surprised me. The dad mentions “limp-wristed hippy crap” making me think, what?! This is a kid’s movie but it’s pretty edgy in the dialogue department. This is particularly interesting because late in the film it’s revealed that one of the characters is openly gay, the first in a kids’ movie.
– The zombies get their butts kicked. There’s this interesting point where the zombies suddenly realize that the world they’ve come back to is freakishly different from the one they knew. We’ve seen zombies come back after centuries asleep and just go straight to work murdering folks. But how would a guy who’s been dead for three hundred years actually feel about this world if he were able to think at all? One thing’s for sure, he wouldn’t like having a shotgun blast to the gut. That’s for sure. And the townsfolk here aren’t taking this situation lightly. They go for the guns and chase after the zombies without hesitation.
– The witch isn’t the bad guy but neither are the zombies. Not really. So the witch who cursed the villagers to damnation and to return from the grave turns out to have been a victim of religious intolerance and persecution. No big surprise there. Happens all the time right? But in this case the zombie villagers are deeply sorry and realize they were wrong. But the modern villagers aren’t listening to any of this and nearly kill a bunch of kids in their fury to stop the zombies.
This is really the main theme of the movie, people are angry and scared and stupid. They are intolerant and crazy. They hurt each other and don’t listen. But maybe, just maybe a few tolerant understanding people in the right place at the right time can do a little good in the world.
The worst thing I can say about this movie is that it wasn’t more popular. It made a profit at the box office and scored some very good reviews but didn’t turn into a massive hit like say Monster’s Inc though in a lot of ways it’s just as good and they both have John Goodman!
As I said above, one of the characters in the story is gay. What that meant of course was that a lot of people got their panties in a bunch about it. On one hand, yeah some parents probably had to answer a few questions their kids had about the subject. And let’s face it, this movie wasn’t just shown in the U.S. Plenty of countries around the world have their own take on the acceptance of gay people in their cultures. Some are accepting about it and others, well others are backwards hateful bigots and don’t even let women drive cars. So yeah, knowing that ahead of time might have helped some parents better prepare to answer that question.
So yeah, as much as I typically try to stay away from geopolitical cultural character assassination in blogging about zombie movies, (cause yeah, there are better places to write about that,) it’s just hard to ignore hate and discrimination. It sucks.