It’s no surprise that this digitally animated adventure from the producers of Edward Gorey-esque kids’ fairytales ‘Coraline’ and ‘ParaNorman’ is an ooky, spooky affair. But the sheer stomach-churning weirdness of ‘The Boxtrolls’ is still a shock.
In the medieval town of Cheesebridge, the citizens have been whipped into a panic over the subterranean Boxtrolls, little blue-skinned monsters who emerge from the sewers to swipe anything not bolted down. But one boy knows the truth – the Boxtrolls are a kind and cowardly race, the victims of a smear campaign by the cruel Archibald Snatcher (voiced by Ben Kingsley, or, more accurately, by Don Logan from ‘Sexy Beast’).
Breathlessly paced and surreally funny, ‘The Boxtrolls’ fizzes with visual invention and wild slapstick. But the grotesquerie is overbearing: with its pustulent transvestite villain and mud-spattered aesthetic, this is closer in tone to Fellini, Python or even John Waters than your average family-friendly blockbuster. By all means take the kids – but don’t be surprised if they run screaming halfway through.