Kid zombie flick, 'ParaNorman,' full of life

By Luis Rendon/
May 1, 2013 at 12:01 a.m.

"ParaNorman" centers around the zombie-loving and spirit-seeing Norman.

"ParaNorman" centers around the zombie-loving and spirit-seeing Norman.

On my days off, I like to go to the theater by myself. I don't have to worry about what anybody else wants to watch, and it's a great way to just get out of the house.

Most of the time, I find myself going during the daytime to watch a "kid movie" that most of my adult friends would rather skip out on.

I go see these movies in the hopes of rekindling the great memories I had watching movies from my childhood.

Who can forget Scotty Smalls and the crew from "The Sandlot?" Or what about the girls from "Now and Then?" Movies like that are rarely made these days, with most kid fare full of dumb humor that lacks any soul or originality.

On the flip side of that, ironically, is "ParaNorman" (PG), a movie that features plenty of dead people.

Our story follows Norman, a strange, earnest kid who can, for no discernable reason, talk to ghosts. He likes watching scary movies with his dead grandma and has a hard time communicating with anyone with a pulse.

Like its sister movie "Coraline," "ParaNorman" is a stop-motion feature that is something to behold. The style of the movie is a throwback to the horror movies of yore, with lots of winks and nods to some of the classics like "Friday the 13th" and "Halloween."

I originally saw the movie on one of my solo theater trips but watched it again when I saw that it was available to be streamed online. I was pleasantly surprised to find myself still laughing, jumping and tearing up at the end the second time around.

The movie was marketed as a zombie movie for kids, but that really doesn't do it justice. Sweet moments abound, but nothing feels too heavy handed or out of the realm of possibility. For example, when Norman needs to break the witch's curse at the climax of the movie, like any normal kid, he asks his parents for a ride.

"Sometimes, people say and do bad things when they are scared." After Norman's father scolds him for being different, Norman's mother uses these words to assuage her son. They come up again later in the movie and prove to be the heartbeat of the plot.

Don't let the ghosts, zombies and any of the other monsters in Norman's life fool you, this movie is full of life.



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