WILL YOU SURVIVE THE CURSE OF THE WITCH?
By William Farris
The Clackamas Print
When October rolls around every year people will usually bring out their favorite movies to watch with the season. This ranges from old classic children’s movies, classic horror and even more recent horror movies to get into the Halloween spirit. But one of the movies I always talk about and watch this time of year that I feel doesn’t get as much attention as it deserves is “Paranorman.”
Released back in 2012 by Laika pictures, the same studio behind the stop motion hit “Coraline” and even more recent successes like “Kubo and The Two Strings,” “Paranorman” is a movie that has gained a bit of a cult status over the years. But the movie at the time and even now wasn’t very popular in the mainstream like some of Laika’s other films. Which, like I said before, is a real shame since this really is a funny, memorable and just plain good movie.
The story is about a small tourist town known as Blight Hallow that in the 1800s supposedly hung a witch who lived among them. Legend says the witch cursed her accusers to die horribly and then one day rise from the grave as the living dead.
The town uses the legend to boost business and sell tacky trinkets to people. A young kid named Norman lives in the town and is known as a local freak because he says he can talk to and see ghosts. But, big shocker, Norman really can talk to ghosts and as it turns out the curse is very much real and threatens to destroy the town if Norman doesn’t stop it.
That can seem like a standard premise, and for the first part of the movie it can feel like it’s pandering to the audience.
The reason “Paranorman” is such a great movie is because its story is anything but standard and goes out of its way to subvert tropes and make a unique narrative. The story itself has a number of twists and turns that I won’t dare spoil here.
The comedy is also amazing and is one of the best parts of the movie, with jokes that are geared more towards an adult audience with a darker tone, which makes sense given the grim subject matter.
The darker tone, combined with the stop motion animation, also makes for some brilliant slap stick and physical comedy. Some of the jokes involving the living dead that are introduced later in the film are some of the highlights of the movie in my opinion.
The stop-motion also lets them do some amazing looking effects that range from visually stunning to simply gorgeous.
So, if you need a Halloween movie this year and you want to be amazed and intrigued, you should try “Paranorman.” With a blend of grim comedy, likable characters, and unique storytelling, it’s one of my favorite movies and I bet that if you give a shot it’ll be one of yours too.
By Autumn Berend
Spoilers ahead for the movie “It.”
The craze about the remake of Stephen King’s famous story, “It,” has been well received by critics alike, earning a whopping 85 percent Fresh Tomato score by critics and an 86 percent by the audience.
While the film is far from horrid, good in fact, it doesn’t come out on top as it is marketed. Of the flaws, the computer generated imagery, or CGI for short, was extremely lackluster in many areas and of poor quality, ushering in questions of the budget. This sad look at the CGI is seen early in the movie when Georgie (Jackson Robert Scott) has his arm eaten off by the demonic clown, Pennywise (Bill Skarsgård), the eponymous “It.”
In one of the first scenes, we also witness a moment where his older brother, Bill (Jaeden Lieberher) is sick, but I’m left wondering if this was staged, because it was an obviously fake cough, like one would make to try and stay home from school.
The best part of the movie comes from two characters, Richie, played by the Stranger Things star Finn Wolfhard, and Pennywise. Between Wolfhard’s excellent execution of his witty and childish jokes and Skarsgård’s stellar job as the scary Pennywise, I was left happy, but only because of those two. They carried the movie on their shoulders and did an excellent job of it.
Most of the characters are rather forgettable, save for the pedophilic father of Beverly Marsh (Sophia Lillis), but only because of how gross it is to watch him on screen. When he is knocked out by his daughter, you feel yourself cheering in glee after his attempt at abusing her and likely potential sexual assault.
The other issue I had was the progress. During the first and second act, I was so tired and bored I was tempted to walk out of the theater. I felt the pacing could have been better, and some characters could be focused on more, such as Mike Hanlon (Chosen Jacobs) who is scarcely in the movie and has just about zero-character development throughout the movie. He was a character I feel should have been included a little more because he seemed to fade into nothingness and was just fodder compared with the rest of the group of friends.
What makes the movie good is how it executes its jump scares. They’re timed perfectly from the tunes of the music to being creative, like when Georgie’s walkie goes off in multiple scenes of the movie.
While the praise is fairly well deserving, being a great adaption to the novel, just like Tim Curry’s TV adaptation. Though the 2017 adaptation isn’t nearly as comical with Pennywise as with Curry, though it leaves me hoping they will do so when we return to the Losers, the name of the group of friends, when they’re adults.
With all said, the acting could be better and the CGI, if used, should be far better or they should just use props, but the movie otherwise hits home and is less of a horror than it is a grandiose movie about a group of kids and their adventure with mystery involved. The horror is just the icing. And I think this is how “It” is seemingly one of the few contemporary films reinventing the horror genre by telling a compelling story over trying to be scary. Unlike most horror movies, which bring jump scares filled with obnoxiously and overly loud music that no one wants to deal with.