Creepy “Coraline”

Went to see “Coraline” at the movies last night. I hadn’t heard a whole lot about it. I knew it was based on a Neil Gaiman novella and I must’ve seen a headline saying it was decent but, other than that, I went in blind. I knew the basic premise was that a young girl found a secret passage in her house but that was about it.

What I found out when we got to the theater was that a.) it is a Henry Selick film, much in the vein of “A Nightmare Before Christmas”, b.) it is in 3D and you have to wear 3D glasses and c.) it is all sorts of creepy. It’s not scary. It just gives you the vague creepys.

I think it’s because of the button eyes.  As I said earlier, the movie is about a young girl who finds a secret passage in her home. By following it, she comes to an alternate world that mirrors her own. The main difference is that, instead of regular eyes, people and creatures in the other world have button eyes, much like a doll might have.

Ever see a person talk to you with unblinking button eyes? Try it some time. It’s creepy, I tell you. Like, hair-standing-up-on-the-back-of-your-neck, chills-running-down-your-spine creepy. Especially when at least one of those persons doesn’t talk but just smiles and stares with those big black button eyes.  It gave me the heebie-jeebies.

The 7 year-old girl behind me didn’t seem to be phased in the least. Maybe it’s because she’s used to staring into the button eyes of her dolls.

Maybe she just hasn’t seen the things I’ve seen.

Other than being creepy, the movie was entertaining. It seems to start rather abruptly and it doesn’t really give you a lot of back story. You figure out that Coraline’s parents moved her to the countryside from some city and that they are writing some kind of gardening catalog. You don’t get much else in the way of character development and one of the main characters jumps out at you early in a full-formed state. Being that the movie is animated, I don’t count lack of character or story development against it much.

At just about an hour and fifty minutes long, the movie ends just about the time it seems to start dragging. I was entertained but was definitely ready for the credits to roll. For one thing, I can’t watch a movie without a bucket of diet cola.

For another, the Hispanic guy behind us picked up his phone in the middle of the movie and started talking in a very conversational tone. I had to turn and shush him rather loudly and was looking for the opportunity to call him out when the lights came up.

Seriously, how self-absorbed do you have to be to pick up the phone in the middle of a movie and start having a conversation? And this is coming from a guy who talks through almost every movie. At least I do it in hushed tones to whomever my partner in crime happens to be for the evening and not to the theater at large.

I never got to confront the guy, unfortunately. As soon as the credits rolled, he gathered his family and left. It’s a good thing too. I’d been combing my memory for all the Spanish swear words I could remember and was prepared to unleash them upon him. He had a fair amount of Spanglish abuse headed his way. I think he knew it was coming. That’s why he left so quickly, I’m sure.

Or it could be that he was just creeped out and had to leave. I’m telling you, those soul-less button eyes…it was enough to make your skin crawl.