Norman sees dead people, and his gift has turned him into the most bullied kid at his school. But when his New England town comes under a witch's curse, he's the only person who can tangle with the netherworld. Produced by the Laika studio, this swell stop-motion animation operates on a wavelength similar to that of Laika's debut feature, Coraline
(2009), with assured character comedy counterbalanced by a solemn sense of macabre wonder. The big-headed characters are cruelly, often hilariously detailed, from the purple lines in the palms of a fat, disdainful teacher to the cloud of blemishes on the face of the school bully. Yet when Norman walks the streets of his town, passing all manner of maimed and mutilated ex-people, Jon Brion's score is gentle, even magical. Chris Butler wrote the script and codirected with Sam Fell; the voice talent includes Anna Kendrick, Leslie Mann, Jeff Garlin, Casey Affleck, and Christopher Mintz-Plasse.
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Animation pros from Aardman and Laika present screenings at this year's fest
ParaNorman is another macabre animation from the producers of Coraline