Halloween Movie Review: Coraline

Written by Emily Balogh, Staff Writer

When you decide to watch Coraline, it is not because you are searching for a feel-good, pleasant piece of media. This eerie children’s cartoon is dark in the most subtle of ways. It is one of the only movies that can scare adults more than children, even with a PG rating. This notorious animated film has become one of my favorites because it is very well done and intentional. It also is a great go-to if you want something with a hint of spooky without all the gore. However, the unsettling feeling it leaves is arguably worse than typical horror film jump scares or bloody scenes. Coraline is psychologically terrifying, and the emotions it elicits are ones of darkness.

  The ideas behind this movie are brilliant and clearly carefully thought out. The animation is just unsettling enough that you feel uncomfortable throughout the film. The characters’ movements parrot human-like patterns, but for some reason, it feels “off.” The fluidity of motion and the gaunt, disproportionate characters give the movie an extra level of the bizarre that caters more to fear in adults. Another tactful choice by the production team is the coloration. The whole film is rather dark, both in sentiment and scenery. Colors are utilized, but often only muted versions are displayed. The settings are decrepit and appear nearly lifeless except for our few main characters. The area reeks of barrenness, isolating the main character and creating an even spookier location for the story.

  However, the storyline is really where this movie stands out. Based on a book by Neil Gaiman, the plot directs the viewer to introspection. Some of the scariest themes are entirely missed by the primary audience of the film–children. For example, one extremely unsettling aspect of the movie is the neglect Coraline faces from her parents in the real world. It reminds us that not all parents have to care, and watching them continually ignore Coraline’s attention-seeking actions is nearly heartbreaking. Another main takeaway is that the plot challenges a character who always looks for something better. Coraline is unhappy and goes searching for a new life, where she finds much more evil and psychological manipulation than she ever could have anticipated. The idea of settling for the lesser of two evils is where the film leaves you, a conclusion that is mostly unsatisfying but painfully realistic. This film epitomizes pessimism, so if you are looking for a movie to lighten your spirits, this movie is not for you. But if you are looking for a movie to challenge your idea of horror and purposefully leave you with a lasting discomfort, Coraline is a great place to start.

When you decide to watch Coraline, it is not because you are searching for a feel-good, pleasant piece of media. This eerie children’s cartoon is dark in the most subtle of ways. It is one of the only movies that can scare adults more than children, even with a PG rating. This notorious animated film has become one of my favorites because it is very well done and intentional. It also is a great go-to if you want something with a hint of spooky without all the gore. However, the unsettling feeling it leaves is arguably worse than typical horror film jump scares or bloody scenes. Coraline is psychologically terrifying, and the emotions it elicits are ones of darkness.

  The ideas behind this movie are brilliant and clearly carefully thought out. The animation is just unsettling enough that you feel uncomfortable throughout the film. The characters’ movements parrot human-like patterns, but for some reason, it feels “off.” The fluidity of motion and the gaunt, disproportionate characters give the movie an extra level of the bizarre that caters more to fear in adults. Another tactful choice by the production team is the coloration. The whole film is rather dark, both in sentiment and scenery. Colors are utilized, but often only muted versions are displayed. The settings are decrepit and appear nearly lifeless except for our few main characters. The area reeks of barrenness, isolating the main character and creating an even spookier location for the story.

  However, the storyline is really where this movie stands out. Based on a book by Neil Gaiman, the plot directs the viewer to introspection. Some of the scariest themes are entirely missed by the primary audience of the film–children. For example, one extremely unsettling aspect of the movie is the neglect Coraline faces from her parents in the real world. It reminds us that not all parents have to care, and watching them continually ignore Coraline’s attention-seeking actions is nearly heartbreaking. Another main takeaway is that the plot challenges a character who always looks for something better. Coraline is unhappy and goes searching for a new life, where she finds much more evil and psychological manipulation than she ever could have anticipated. The idea of settling for the lesser of two evils is where the film leaves you, a conclusion that is mostly unsatisfying but painfully realistic. This film epitomizes pessimism, so if you are looking for a movie to lighten your spirits, this movie is not for you. But if you are looking for a movie to challenge your idea of horror and purposefully leave you with a lasting discomfort, Coraline is a great place to start.

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