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Norm of the Dead

Cameron Hines

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Keeping with the theme of horror around the beginning of the school year, ParaNorman is Laika Studio’s most recent motion film, the previous being Coraline.

ParaNorman centers on Norman, a boy who is able to see ghosts of people past.

The film centers on Norman, a boy who is able to see ghosts of people past. However, everyone in his town thinks that he is crazy and ostracizes him, except for a fellow outcast named Neil who is picked on for a collection of reasons including his massive girth.

Norman is voiced by Kodi Smit-Mcphee, known for his roles in Hugo, Let Me In, and The Road. He delivers a stellar performance as he is able to range from vulnerable to courageous as he learns to not only try to get peopleto accept him, but also tries to learn to accept himself.

Other cast members include Anna Kendrick (Up In the Air, Twilight) as Norman’s hormone-raging teenage sister, Jeff Garlin (WALLE, Toy Story 3) as Norman’s sympathizing father, and Casey Affleck (Gone Baby Gone, Goodwill Hunting) as a local jock whose IQ has fewer points than the Red Sox in the 2012 season. Together, these characters, along with many other colorful characters, make up Norman’s community

As Norman is trying to come to terms with his place in society, he also stumbles upon a myth of his town. Many years ago during the Puritan Witch Trials, a witch in Norman’s town was sentenced to hang. Before she was killed though, she placed a curse on her accuser.

As the anniversary of her death is approaching, Norman begins to notice the dead that he’s communicating to are becoming more restless than usual. He soon finds that the witch’s curse is a real event, and he is now the only one who can find out the events that led to the witch’s death and try to stop it before she can torment his home.

Beautifully directed in stop motion animation, ParaNorman stands tall because of its charm and innocence. While it is disguised as a zombie movie, it’s more a coming-of-age story.

While the movie drags at certain times, it’s not enough to truly dampen this charming, heartstring-pulling story of a boy learning to find his way in a world that doesn’t understand him.

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Norm of the Dead