A second robbery has taken place at the Cannes Film Festival 2013.
Release date: 14 September 2012
Directors: Sam Fell, Chris Butler
Voices: Kodi Smit-McPhee, Casey Affleck, Anna Kendrick
What's the story?
Bullied by his classmates for talking to the dead, Norman (Smit-McPhee) has the last laugh when he becomes the only person who can save his town from a witch's curse.
What did we think?
Crafted with care and directed with love, this stop-motion horror romp will entertain adults more than children with its genre in-jokes and ghoulish sense of humour. Next to Tim Burton's animations or its makers' earlier film Coraline, however, it feels more of a derivative homage than its own distinct entity.
As Haley Joel Osment found out in The Sixth Sense, it's not easy being a kid who can see dead people. But at least 11-year-old Norman Babcock has his love of horror films to sustain him when he's being ostracised at school and ignored at home.
The last thing he expects, though, is to find himself in a horror movie for real when an ancient curse is reawakened and his little hamlet of Blithe Hollow becomes overrun by reanimated corpses. It's up to him then - assisted by his airhead sister Courtney (Anna Kendrick), his rotund friend Neil and Neil's muscle-bound older brother Mitch (Casey Affleck) - to placate a vindictive witch still aggrieved about being burned at the stake 300 years earlier.
Arriving in cinemas ahead of two other Halloween-season animations - Tim Burton's Frankenweenie and Sony's Hotel Transylvania - this lively, surprisingly dark 3D toon is sure to please genre fans with its nods to vintage creature features, '80s slasher pics and the zombie classics of George A Romero. Strip all this away, however, and you're left with an extended Scooby Doo episode - complete with van - with characters that wear out their welcome before we have a chance to warm to them.
Verdict: Death Warmed Up.
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