The story told in this stop-motion animation stunner isn't exactly new, but it's one worth hearing again. Norman (voiced by Kodi Smit-McPhee), a bright-eyed 11-year-old with a habit of conversing with the dead, is the odd kid out at home and school. His bubble-headed sister (Anna Kendrick), passive mother (Leslie Mann) and frustrated father (Jeff Garlin) are concerned with Norman's weird behavior and the bullying he encounters at school. Norman talks to ghosts because they are nicer to him than the living. Directors Sam Feller and Chris Butler wisely turn this Sixth Sense
conceit on its head to tell an even older tale of a curse haunting Norman's hometown. In a retelling of Norman's plight, a young girl (a memorably shrill Jodelle Ferland) is falsely accused of witchcraft by Puritan townsfolk whom she curses to walk as the living dead (read: zombies). The film's themes of loneliness and extreme bullying is keen and insightful, and it transforms fright into forgiveness. This film has equal parts heart and magic.