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Quick Review - Focus' Coraline

Be careful what you wish for.

Coraline is a 2009 animated fantasy horror film directed by Henry Selick, written by Henry Selick, produced by Laika and Pandemonium Features, and distributed by Focus Features. It is based off of Neil Gaiman's 2002 novella, Coraline. The film stars Dakota Fanning and Teri Hatcher. It was nominated for Best Animated Feature, but did not win.

"You probably think this world is a dream come true...but you're wrong." - The Cat


Adventurous Coraline Jones is bored by her new life in her new house. Her parents are always working and there's nothing exciting around. Everything changes when she finds a doorway to The Other World, a dimension where everything is amazing. Led by the Other Mother, this world gives Coraline everything she could ever want. However, as Coraline spends more time in the Other World, its sinister secrets being to unravel.

The Best Part of Coraline

This film is one of the best examples of how to blend genres correctly. The film is a family drama, a fantasy adventure, a mystery thriller, and a supernatural horror film rolled into one. It starts off as a curious fantasy film with elements of wonder and fun, but a looming sense of dread overshadowing it like a raincloud. As it moves into the latter half of the film, the dread turns into outright terror as we get some of the scariest sequences in a kid's movie. I've always loved it and I've got massive amounts of nostalgia for it, but I really started to appreciate the genre blend upon this latest watch.

The Worst Part of Coraline

I do think this film is a little bit overstuffed at times. There are times where it moves at a breakneck pace, where we are just flying through plot points, and that can be overwhelming at times. The world-building can be clunky and feels rushed at times. It doesn't really take away from the greatness of the film, but it can bog the film down at certain times throughout.

Why Coraline is Great

This, along with Into the Spider-Verse and Kubo and the Two Strings, is probably my favorite non-Disney animated movie. It deftly combines genres to make a ridiculously fun and pretty scary fantasy adventure that has likable characters, terrifying villains, and a really cool, creepy story. It is, for my money, one of the best animated films of the 21st century. I absolutely adore it.

Final Thoughts and Score

Coraline is a genre-blending masterpiece that is fun for the whole family, giving fans of horror and fantasy everything they could ever want.

I will go Sweet here. Age range is 9+.


Sweet (Great) Savory (Good) Sour (Bad)

Moldy (Terrible)


Fun Factor: 9.5/10

Acting: 7.5/10

Story: 9.5/10 Characters: 9/10

Quality: 9/10

Directed by Henry Selick

Rated PG for frightening images, suggestive material, disturbing themes, thematic elements

Released on February 6, 2009

1 hour and 40 minutes

Dakota Fanning as Coraline Jones

Teri Hatcher as Mel Jones / The Beldam

Keith David as The Cat

Robert Bailey Jr. as Wybie Lovat

Jennifer Saunders as April Sprink / The Other Spink

Dawn French as Miriam Forcible / The Other Forcible

John Hodgman as Charlie Jones / The Other Father

Ian McShane as Mr. Bobinsky / The Other Bobinsky


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