Metascore
72

Generally favorable reviews - based on 33 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 26 out of 33
  2. Negative: 0 out of 33
  1. Reviewed by: Peter Bradshaw
    Sep 16, 2012
    60
    It's a likable scary story – with hints of Tim Burton and Steven Spielberg.
  2. Reviewed by: Kim Newman
    Sep 10, 2012
    60
    Ingenious and wonderfully detailed, though better in its imaginative horror than its slightly too-broad comic knockabout. It's not quite on the level of Coraline, but it's proper summer fun with some dark delights.
  3. Reviewed by: Jayne Nelson
    Sep 1, 2012
    60
    Gorgeous animation and inspired set design help patch over a lacklustre script. The horror hardcore will enjoy playing spot the homage.
  4. Reviewed by: Bilge Ebiri
    Aug 18, 2012
    70
    In the end, perhaps the most touching quality of this film is its low-key, but sensitively rendered portrait of a young, awkward child who hasn't quite managed to figure his way out in the world yet.
  5. Reviewed by: Joe Williams
    Aug 17, 2012
    88
    It's not warm and fuzzy, but for kids who comprehended "Coraline" and babysitters who savored "The Corpse Bride," this stop-motion marvel from some of the same animators is like an early Halloween treat.
  6. Reviewed by: Mike Scott
    Aug 17, 2012
    80
    In ParaNorman, Butler, Fell and company have crafted a refreshingly enjoyable bit of family entertainment. In the process, they've also made the best animated film to hit theaters so far this year.
  7. Reviewed by: Lou Lumenick
    Aug 17, 2012
    88
    ParaNorman is probably the year's most visually dazzling movie so far, and the stunning climax centering on an 11-year-old witch (Jodelle Ferland) is too good to spoil.
  8. Reviewed by: Rick Groen
    Aug 16, 2012
    88
    Norman is the "freak" bullied and ostracized and otherwise degraded by the alive-and-well crowd. Such is the outcast fate of most heroes in the best children's tales. And ParaNorman, a ghoulishly delightful exercise in stop-motion animation, is a very good children's tale indeed.
  9. Reviewed by: Sean OConnell
    Aug 16, 2012
    75
    A colorfully macabre stop-motion animation comedy that embraces the sociopolitical allegories of George A. Romero's zombie pictures and reworks them into a feature-length episode of "Scooby-Doo."
  10. Reviewed by: Shawn Levy
    Aug 16, 2012
    83
    The overall cheekiness of the film far outweighs its preachy moments. For the most part, it's a brisk, funny and engaging movie that does genuinely exciting things with little bits of string and wire and such.
  11. Reviewed by: Amy Biancolli
    Aug 16, 2012
    75
    As for Butler's screenplay, it's less beguiling than preachy.
  12. Reviewed by: Betsy Sharkey
    Aug 16, 2012
    80
    It may be the most fun you'll have with ghosts and zombies all year.
  13. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    Aug 16, 2012
    75
    This wryly funny take on the classic ghost story, with its tributes to horror thrillers from "Halloween" to "Friday the 13th" and rich cast of characters, has distinctive Tim Burton-esque visuals, and a welcome dearth of potty humor.
  14. Reviewed by: Manohla Dargis
    Aug 16, 2012
    90
    Far more than Norman's adventure, which takes him from home to a cemetery and deep into his town's history, what pulls you in, quickening your pulse and widening your eyes, are the myriad visual enchantments - from the rich, nubby tactility of his clothes to the skull-and-bones adorning his bedroom wallpaper.
  15. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Aug 16, 2012
    50
    ParaNorman is supposedly for kids, but it's really aimed at their snarky older brothers, and it illustrates the limits of the new family creepshows.
  16. Reviewed by: Peter Travers
    Aug 16, 2012
    75
    My advice? Just go with ParaNorman. There's magic in it.
  17. Reviewed by: Joe Neumaier
    Aug 16, 2012
    40
    The 12-year-old boys who go to see ParaNorman - and who are the only ones who might enjoy it - should double up on the sugary treats to stay awake during this gorgeous-looking but zombi-fied stop-motion animated creep show. It's as slow as a corpse, and half as interesting.
  18. Reviewed by: Rene Rodriguez
    Aug 16, 2012
    63
    None of this is all that engaging. But the art design of the movie makes up for the slack story.
  19. Reviewed by: Michael Phillips
    Aug 16, 2012
    75
    What works about ParaNorman is its subtle interweave of the stoical and the heroic. The voice work is inspired, without a lot of theatrical flourish. The low-key musical score by Jon Brion, one of the year's best, teases out the macabre humor in each new challenge faced by Norman.
  20. Reviewed by: Lawrence Toppman
    Aug 16, 2012
    100
    It's freakishly funny, suddenly tender, gleefully macabre, genuinely scary, and full of a moral – fear turns weak people into bullies – which is dosed out so gently that it never tastes like medicine.
  21. Reviewed by: Tasha Robinson
    Aug 15, 2012
    67
    It plays with comedy and drama, but keeps failing to commit to one or the other.
  22. Reviewed by: Marc Savlov
    Aug 15, 2012
    78
    Laika's stop-motion animation is every bit as inspired here as it was in their rightfully lauded "Coraline," and the storyline never wavers from its boneyard-deep message: Being different from others is a good – nay, great – thing, no matter how many villagers (or zombies) are after you.
  23. Reviewed by: Steve Persall
    Aug 15, 2012
    75
    The movie's erratic pleasures are like its ghosts; now you see them, now you don't.
  24. Reviewed by: Bill Goodykoontz
    Aug 15, 2012
    80
    As creepy as it is fun, and it's plenty of both, ParaNorman will delight fans of old-time horror movies.
  25. Reviewed by: Jonathan Kiefer
    Aug 14, 2012
    70
    Butler called it "John Carpenter meets John Hughes," and that does just about sum ParaNorman up, though the actual math still feels a little fuzzy.
  26. Reviewed by: Keith Uhlich
    Aug 14, 2012
    80
    Sensitive parents shouldn't fret; this is the kind of grim fairy tale, equal parts midnight-movie macabre and family-round-the-hearth compassionate, that scars in all the right ways.
  27. Reviewed by: Chris Cabin
    Aug 12, 2012
    63
    The tagline for the film reads "You Don't Become a Hero by Being Normal," and the film mostly lives up to that assertion, but only up to a point.
  28. 40
    ParaNorman is easily one of the most charming, imaginative and quirky comedies to come out of Laika Entertainment (Coraline), but for all its cleverness and urbane wit, it's in no way appropriate for kids.
  29. Reviewed by: Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Aug 8, 2012
    75
    The story may be thin, but the project, a feat of stop-motion animation, is made with generous care by the same impressive LAIKA studio artists who conjured up the gorgeous "Coraline."
  30. Reviewed by: Drew Taylor
    Aug 5, 2012
    100
    ParaNorman is a micro-sized masterpiece that wears its heart (and its half-eaten brains) on its sleeve.
User Score
7.0

Generally favorable reviews- based on 174 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 45 out of 66
  2. Negative: 14 out of 66
  1. Aug 21, 2012
    9
    The fact that these so called "parents" are agitated over the extremely small moment where a character says hes gay goes to show your a crappy parent. The whole message of the movie is that you should be happy with who you are and don't judge someone just because they're different from yourself. If you weren't so homophobic and stupid you'd realize that this is a great message sent to your kids. So shutup and open your mind and enjoy the film. Clearly you're the type of parent that will hate their kid if they end up gay. There isn't anything wrong with this movie people, some scenes may be too intense for really small children but overall this is a great film, with a BEAUTIFUL MESSAGE! Don't listen to the homophobes, they're just dumb and don't know a good movie when they see one. 9/10 Full Review »
  2. Aug 20, 2012
    10
    Simply an amazing movie. It's like a Tim Burton movie, but it isn't. The art style is just fantastic and innocent, and the message of the movie is even better! This is probably my favorite film now, no joke. ParaNorman focuses a lot on tolerance and the movie never bored me: the visual effects were so great and so was the voice acting! It was definitely entertaining start to finish -- although it did start off weird, it quickly got to the point and surprised me!! I loved the characters and just the movie itself! DEFINITELY a must see, whatever age!!!

    Seriously people? You're giving an amazing movie a ZERO because of a gay reference? Calm down, and stop being immature. It's not that big of a deal.
    Full Review »
  3. Aug 17, 2012
    10
    This stop motion animated 3-D movie is the best that I have seen. The characters seem to jump off the screen right at you while you watch the movie. I would recommend this movie to adults as well as children. The subject matter is not difficult to understand. It was joy to watch. I enjoyed the movie immensely Full Review »