Coraline: Is This the Best Children’s Horror Movie?


Focus Features / Laika Entertainment / Pandemonium

Amari Littleton, Staff Writer

Coraline is seen on multiple platforms, such as Freeform and Netflix, once the month of October begins. It’s a stop-motion dark fantasy film directed by Henry Selick and based on the children’s novel by Neil Gaiman. The movie came out in February of 2009 and had a $60 million budget. In the first weekend of its premiere, it was ranked #2 in the Animation genre and grossed over $16 million as recorded on Box Office Mojo. The film was actually included in AFI’s Movies of that Year. On top of that, the film won awards for Best Music in an Animated Feature Production, Best Character Design in an Animated Feature Production and Best Production Design in an Animated Feature Production, and also received Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations for Best Animated Feature.

No matter the season, Coraline is one of my go-to children’s movies from my childhood, and this is coming from someone who grew up only on Disney princess movies.”

Coraline is the name of the main character of the movie. She is a little girl with blue hair that is moving into a new apartment with her parents. She was reluctant to enjoy the house at first, especially because it wasn’t near perfect. The house was dull and gray, the wallpaper was peeling in some areas and there was a picture of a sad boy in black holding an ice cream cone, that the ice cream had fallen off of, pouting.

Isn’t that weird?

Her parents were always busy which left her time to explore the house and the area she lives in on her own. Believe it or not, they encouraged this! She discovers a multitude of things such as the people who live above and under her, an annoying guy around her age, and a whole other world, but that doesn’t happen until later in the movie. The plot has many twists and turns beginning when Wyborn, the annoying guy, gives her a doll that resembles her exactly that he discovered in his grandmother’s house. It leads her to a small door in her house and from there, things get a little creepy and dangerous. It’ll have you on the edge of your seat throughout the entire movie.

Most parental reviews say the same thing, that it was terrifying for their young children. “I regret not reading reviews before seeing this with my children. From the advertising, I thought it’d be ok for kids and didn’t look very scary. I was so wrong,” is part of a parent’s review of the movie on Common Sense Media. It’s safe to say, this movie isn’t completely for kids. The movie is well-known to scare and give younger children nightmares due to the creepiness of the ‘other mother’ towards the end of the movie.  It is more for children who are used to films by people like Tim Burton. Interestingly, it is said that the book is actually creepier than the film itself.

Coraline is loved and hated, almost equally, around the world. Some scenes are actually more suited towards a mature audience. One scene, in particular, is complained about by most parents, which is when Coraline steps into the house of the older women that live under her in the ‘other world’ and watches their performance on stage. Although, the parents do dislike certain aspects of the film, they believe the animation was spectacular. The stop-motion was executed amazingly and really brought the story to life. The way the entire film was directed really made it what it is.

If you’re someone who is too afraid of adult or teen rated scary movies during this Halloween season or you love Tim Burton, I believe Coraline could be the PG movie for you. As a child, I do recall being scared of the film, but as I got older I began to love it the more I watched it. No matter the season, Coraline is one of my go-to children’s movies from my childhood, and this is coming from someone who grew up only on Disney princess movies.

I love the entire plot of the story. To me, there is not one boring scene or one that leaves me confused. Each and every scene had me completely captivated. I am not kidding when I say I couldn’t peel my eyes away from the screen. When I found out the entire movie was made by hand over the span of twenty months, I loved it more. So much creativity and dedication was put into it, what’s not to love about it? My favorite part of the movie would have to be when Coraline finally stands up for herself and helps the ghost children become happy and reach true peace in their afterlives.

I recommend this movie to everyone who isn’t easily scared. The adventure Coraline went on and the meaning at the end of the movie makes it one of the best I’ve seen in my life. The message of the movie, in my opinion, is to be happy with the life and the parents you have because nothing good comes from being greedy and ungrateful.