Writer/director Chris Butler
puts his experience working on Coraline
and Tim Burton's The Corpse Bride
to good use in this charmingly morbid tale of an eccentric young hero facing supernatural forces that would make most grown-ups cower in fear. Eleven-year-old Norman Babcock (voice of Kodi Smit-McPhee
) is a young misfit with a remarkable gift: He sees dead people. Although Norman's clairvoyance allows him the unique opportunity to enjoy the company of his beloved grandmother (Elaine Stritch) long after she has ceased to be, it also drives his frustrated father Perry (Jeff Garlin
) and popularity-obsessed sister Courtney (Anna Kendrick) up the wall at home and makes him the target of dim-witted bully Alvin (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) at school. His only friend is portly Neil (Tucker Albrizzi), who isn't exactly a beacon of coolness. When Norman's deceased uncle Prenderghast (John Goodman
), a local pariah, warns the young boy that he must save their small town of Blithe Hollow from a witch's curse that has plagued the area for centuries, the young creature-feature addict isn't entirely sure how to respond -- that is, until the sky turns red, the clouds start to swirl, and the dead rise up from their graves. Now, as a terrified mob takes to the streets with torches in hand, it's up to Norman, Courtney, Alvin, Neil, and Neil's older brother Mitch (Casey Affleck
) to put things right, even if it means confronting the 300-year-old curse that has haunted Blithe Hollow ever since the notorious witch hunts of the 18th century.