With Coraline opening on Friday, reviews called the movie aimed at families "dark." Will audiences find Coraline to be too dark, especially for children? When ReelzChannel spoke to the cast, we heard a variety of opinions. Director Henry Selick, as mentioned in our Coraline review, said: "I'm more concerned about the parents being scared...the eight-year-olds can hold their mom's hand."
When author Neil Gaiman was asked if Coraline was "too scary," he replied:
I hope so. I think a little bit of fear is a wonderful thing. And in 'Coraline' what you're telling them is that here's something big and it's something scary and it's something that's worth being a story. Look, she's a smart kid, and she doesn't have magical powers, and she's not the 'chosen one,' there's nothing cool or magical going on. She's just like you and she's going to win. And for most kids, and not for most parents, they read 'Coraline' as an adventure. I think for adults it tends to be much scarier. For adults you've got a number of things going on. For an adult, a story about a child in danger, that's big. That's scary. That's dangerous. And also of course, for adults, they get to watch it, and all sorts of long-forgotten, long-buried, repressed, and abandoned childhood memories start coming to the fore and worrying them. And children don't have repressed memories because that's where they live.
Coraline star Teri Hatcher also felt that there's more to Coraline than "darkness:"
I think it's really an individual family's choice. I think you hear about three-year-olds going to see 'The Dark Knight' and I didn't take my 11-year-old to see that movie. I think whenever you have an opportunity to communicate with your kids in an open and imaginative humorous way, which this movie provides, I think even if there are scary feelings that come up I think the communication behind that and the message in this movie makes it worth seeing as opposed to some of this scary kind of trash that's out there that I think is influencing some of our children on the Internet or in video games.
Whether audiences find Coraline scary or not, it hasn't stopped the movie from receiving extremely positive reviews.