Quoting the film’s poster “Be Careful What You Wish For”? With this film, that is so true. As requested, let’s take a look at the door within the wallpaper for Laika’s animated dark comedy ‘Coraline’. Trust me when I say it, this film is unusually dark for an animated film, and that this film could frighten young kids – because at times, it sure frighten me in pure horror fashion.
The film follows a young girl named Coraline, who has just moved in to an apartment at Pink Palace. Her parents don’t see the way she sees, instead being boring and not listening to a word she says, on the point of feeling ignored. While giving the house a little tour, she finds a door hidden behind the wallpaper. Upon first realizing it, it ends up being just a brick wall leading to nowhere, however at night, the rats lead her way down the rabbit hole at a world that looks familiar, yet unfamiliar at the same time, as her other mother and father are fun and loving, however have buttons instead of eyes. That’s not the creepiest part of the film.
For an animated film to be dark and basically a horror film is unusually rare, often comparing this film to Sony’s ‘Monster House’ that was the creepiest animated film I ever saw as a kid. Now having watched this film for the first time, I can see elements of suspense and terror featured in this film – and I surprisingly loved it. It was a rollercoaster, making me care for the character of Coraline that I respond typically to horror films like – don’t go in there or listen to the cat – I was shouting that one out loud a lot.
This film is well crafted, and having seen other stop motion clay animated films before, typically Aardman’s films like ‘Chicken Run’ and ‘Wallace & Gromit’, the craftsmanship behind these films is so well detailed and executed. Sure, there are small times I see an unusual fade that didn’t match up well with the rest of the scene, but I can’t complain as this type of animation is so hard to pull off, I give them high praises. Especially the colour choices made as Coraline’s reality is often dull and grey looking, compared to the other world when its bright and colourful – I mean, that garden scene is an amazing work of animation. I also liked the characters from reality looking like a zombie with grey skin tones, compared to the other world. It is a great comparison and attention to detail. The film’s world and character building is very impressive, and when I hear a choir based score, I’m a sucker for those, its music to my ears.
‘Coraline’ is an animated film that has a great message for kids and loaded of scares and impressive animation. Since this is my first time watching a film from Laika, I can’t wait to see what more films they’ve done in their library of animation treats. Should I see ‘Boxtrolls’ next or since this film gave me chills, is ‘ParaNorman’ the logical next step?