Now as I talk about the plot, I may include something that some would consider spoilers, so if you want this movie to be a complete surprise, then skip this paragraph. Otherwise proceed. If you have seen the trailers, you have the general sense of what the movie is about. There is a boy named Norman who can see and talk to ghosts when no one else can. Because of that he is bullied and ridiculed. Meanwhile, short and chubby kid becomes his tag-along friend. From that you could make an attempt to predict how the rest of the movie goes and you can get much of it right, so it is semi-predictable, but the main central conflict is something that I find is done quite well and going into the movie it wasn't something that was advertised too much, so you wouldn't predict it. The town has a curse on it that was placed by a witch several centuries beforehand. It is remedied every year by someone reading a book to the said witch. When the crazy Mr. Prederghast dies, he comes to Norman and gives him the task of reading the book to the witch. However, it must be done by a certain night and when that night comes, Norman fails the task and crazy things start to happen. And all of this stems back to the famous Salem witch trials. Now is this the first time the Salem witch trials have been used in a movie? Of course not. But it fits quite well in this one, making it more than just your prototypical zombie/ghost movie.
What's the best part of this movie? It has to be the animation. If you didn't know already, it is stop motion animation (which is claymation if you are unfamiliar with that term) in this film and is done by the same people who did Coraline and Corpse Bride. The attention to detail in this is quite amazing and definitely deserves props. Going into this movie, I had heard that it is actually quite scary for a children's animated movie and thus might not be appropriate for younger kids. Did I feel this way after seeing it? Not exactly. It wasn't that spooky. It was more just pure fun and actually quite funny. Now I would actually avoid showing this to your really young 3 - 5 year old kids, because it actually might be a bit intense for them, but outside that I feel that it is a good Halloween movie that the whole family can enjoy for years to come.
Overall, I don't imagine that this is a movie that will win best animated film of the year in the upcoming Oscars. Sure, it might deserve a nomination, but there are better animated movies that have come out this year. I did enjoy it and I do thing it can become a fun family Halloween tradition, so I'd give it a shot if I were you. I will award it a 7.5/10.