Australian Council on Children and the Media

ParaNorman

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What age is this for?

Age
0-5
5-6
7-8
8-13
13+

Classification

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What’s it about?

Norman Babcock has a special gift – he can see and talk to dead people. Of course no-one believes him except his overweight friend Neil. Norman and Neil are both bullied and tormented at school by Alvin and his friends and they get called names like ‘freak’ and ‘fatty’. Norman is glad to discover that his Uncle Prenderghast also has the same gift as he does,  to talk to dead people, but is dismayed to find out that the town is in great danger because of a curse that was placed on it over 300 years ago.

It’s now up to Norman to undo the curse to prevent the town from being destroyed. Things don’t go according to plan and get even worse when many more zombies are awoken from their graves and start to cause a lot more damage to the town.

What to look out for

This is made to be a scary movie so there are lots of scary scenes such as:

  • Norman talks to lots of ghosts including his dead Grandmother who he talks to quite a lot. The ghosts are quite scary.
  • Norman imagines being in a forest where the trees grow pointed teeth and long bony fingers which grab him and the students around him turn into corpses.
  • A ghost like image of a girl appears from a tree that’s surrounded by lightening bolts. This is the tree where the girl was hung from 300 years ago. The girl sends out bolts of lightning that hit Norman and then she splits into four images that swirl around Norman like a tornado. She looks really scary with long pointy teeth.

There’s also a lot of fighting and bullying where people (and zombies) get hurt such as:

  •  Alvin threatens to “get” Norman and to punch Neil in his “boobs”. He then punches Neil in the chest.
  • A zombie’s head comes off when he is hit by a car and a young man kicks the head like a football. One zombie is seen with a gaping hole through its midsection as the result of being shot in the stomach.    
  •  An angry mob of townspeople, carrying clubs, brooms, rakes and flaming torches, chase zombies and zombies are shot, bashed and clubbed.

    Moral of the Story

    The message of the story is not to let bullies make you become a bully too. It’s best to walk away from bullies and ignore them.

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