I’ve finally gotten to an age where I feel worldly enough to share my knowledge of cinema with my younger family members, rather than be the one depending on other people to expose me to new films.  Of course I’ll always be looking for unseen flicks from other people, but there’s something magical about showing my godchildren and cousins a movie for the first time.  Over Thanksgiving break, I made a visit back to Chicago and was able to spend time with arguably my favorite person on the planet, my four year old cousin.  Together we watched PARANORMAN, one of my favorite kid’s films of recent memory.  As we laughed together at the zombies, I realized something…PARANORMAN is really just SILENT HILL Jr.

Purely on surface level, the main “villain” of PARANORMAN is a young girl named Agatha Prenderghast.  Aggie (like our protagonist Norman) was a medium, but was wrongfully convicted by the town council after they mistook her powers as witchcraft.  Aggie died at the hands of the town council and her spirit will haunt the town with a cataclysmic tantrum unless a yearly ritual takes place.  She wears a collared dress, has long black hair, and a very pained expression.  It isn’t until Norman has Agatha recount someone who was kind to her that her anger manages to subside and Norman saves the day.  Sound familiar?

The major story in the SILENT HILL film surrounds a girl named Alessa (sounds a bit like Agatha) who was wrongly believed to be a sin by the rest of her community.  Alessa died at the hands of her town council and her spirit haunted the town with cataclysmic tantrums and monsters.  Although there was no yearly ritual, there were daily reminders of her rage as the entire world of Silent Hill would turn evil and torturous at the sound of a warning siren.  She wears a collared dress, has long black hair, and a very pained expression.  It isn’t until Alessa is shown kindness from a mother-figure named Rose that her anger manages to subside and Rose is able to escape Silent Hill with her daughter, Sharon.

Oh, did I mention Jodelle Ferland plays both characters?

Both Agatha and Alessa’s anger personifies in ivy-like structures off of their bodies, Agatha’s as lightning and Alessa’s as barbed wire.  These structures reach out and harm the town that did her wrong, and are only able to escape once the town has realized the error of their ways.  Throw in a single soul that seems to understand when no one else will, someone with an otherworldly connection to this tortured girl, and you’ve got yourself a movie.

PicMonkey CollageObviously, PARANORMAN is nowhere near as horrifying as SILENT HILL, but the film definitely follows an eerily similar storyline.  Children need gateway films, and PARANORMAN is perfect for exposing children to the horror subgenre of “people make mistakes and it haunts them forever.”  Films like NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET, SILENT HILL, POLTERGEIST, and C.H.U.D. all follow a similar concept, and PARANORMAN is a great stepping stone to introduce films like these to children.

One Response to “PARANORMAN: It’s Pretty Much Just SILENT HILL Jr.”
  1. Charly says:

    Yes, I saw Paranorman today I think it was inspired by Silent Hill, I searched the web and found your site, so I am not the only one. And the plot is not the only thing, in Paranorman there is a “fire” effect that changes the reality in Norman’s view and it is the SAME effect used several times in Silent Hill! Cheers

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