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The Ionian

The Student News Site of Iona University

The Ionian

Revisiting a Halloween favorite: ‘Coraline’

Photo from wired.com
Henry Selick’s 2009 hit horror movie.

As the country prepares for Halloween’s arrival in the next coming weeks, many of us turn to some of the world’s most popular seasonal films that resurface every year to get us into the spooky spirit. For many Halloween lovers across the world, there is one film that jumps back up to popularity, its story and content beloved by many since its release in 2009: “Coraline.” 


 Henry Selick’s “Coraline” is a stop-motion animation film that follows the story of Coraline Jones as she moves to her new, mysterious home, discovering the secrets and hidden realities within it. Don’t let this movie’s animated format persuade you from believing that the film isn’t as dark and unsettling as any other spooky movie. While “Coraline” can reach a much broader audience with its content in comparison to a slasher, the story of the girl with the button eyes will surely send a shiver down your spine.   


“Coraline” begins with the Jones family entering their new home, “The Pink Palace,” in the rainy state of Oregon. A sort-of misfit and loner among her parents, Coraline decides to explore her new home and property alone. It is during this expedition when we meet Wybie, Coraline’s first friend/annoying neighbor, who gives her some of the first suspicious insight into the world within “The Pink Palace.” Wybie tells Coraline that it’s unusual for the house to be rented to a family with a child, which she brushes off, along with him. 


When Coraline returns home, it is made obvious that she is ignored by her parents and misses her previous life before their family’s move. Her neighbors are all introduced as oddballs, and it’s clear she is on her own. Her world is bland, rainy, colorless and lonely until she is surprised with a package in the mail from Wybie, revealing a doll with button eyes that looks exactly like Coraline.  


When Coraline goes to bed with her new doll, her entire world flips. She finds herself at the unusual tiny door in the living room of her new house, unlocked by a key with a button on it, where there is a portal that leads to an alternate universe. This world fulfils everything her original one was lacking, her absent parents are now extremely present and there is delicious food being served and visual vibrancy, but only one oddity: everyone has button eyes. The leader of this world, a copy of Coraline’s mother called her “other mother,” waits there for her, along with copies of her father and neighbors all there to lure her into this world with all the compliments, affection, games and attention one could receive in the world. What starts out as a dream come true for a few days quickly turns into a raging nightmare as she discovers the horrible truth about what this world is and why her other mother wants her to stay forever.   


Coraline must fight to escape this fake world of button eyes before she and her loved ones are lost there forever. Through mind bottling riddles, fights and magic, audiences get to watch Coraline’s dream turned nightmare unfold as she fights for her life back and to stop her other mother from stealing her away from the real world forever, like she’s done to the kids within “The Pink Palance” for years. The reality beneath this perceived perfection is exposed, and it’s ugly and terrifying yet impossible not to watch.  


If you’re into psychologically thrilling and visually appealing storytelling, “Coraline” is the perfect movie to spend this Halloween watching. While you’re not being terrified by ‘The Other Mother,” you’ll be on the edge of your seat to see what move Coraline makes next. 

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Valentina Menta Jr.
Valentina Menta Jr., Staff Writer

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