Coraline is a pretty normal, if not a bit spooky, little girl. She’s got her yellow slicker, dark hair, and big, dark eyes. Her parents are typical parents: loving but busy. And, as mamas, we know that when we’re busy, the trouble begins. Of course, Coraline’s only trouble might just be her imagination. (Or is it?) Now, if you’re a fan of this gothic stop-motion masterpiece, you probably feel pretty strongly that it deserves its status as a cult classic. But you probably also have friends who just don’t understand your obsession with this creepy animated movie or why you let your kid watch it. You know what, though? That’s the beauty of cinema: It’s so subjective. What might give one person nightmares can make the next person smile. If the latter sounds like you in this situation, you need more movies like Coraline to add to your movie night roster.
First, let’s revisit the storyline. After moving into a new, rather eerie old house, Coraline wanders the property and soon meets a little boy named Wyborne. Wyborne’s grandmother owns Coraline’s new home and also happens to own a doll that looks just like Coraline — which Wyborne gives to her. Upon exploring her new home, Coraline finds a small door and, at night, goes through the door and takes a tunnel to the “Other World.” In the Other World, things are at first much more to Coraline’s liking.
Other Mother has all the time in the world for Coraline and always makes her favorite foods. Other Father is silly, doting, and ready to sing a song about her the moment she catches his attention. In the Other World, Coraline’s parents have button eyes, just like Coraline’s doll. Of course, anything that’s too good to be true probably is, right? The Other World soon becomes creepy and claustrophobic, and Coraline must make her escape. Back home, the real world suddenly seems a lot better. So, was the Other World a nightmare, a trick of the imagination, or some haunted alternate dimension? Coraline fans can argue about that until they’re blue in the face.
Coraline is dark, but it’s still a kids’ movie. Based on the book by Neil Gaiman, it’s easily as captivating as anything else he’s ever written. If your little one likes semi-spooky things, you should definitely read this to them! Many kids like reading a book and then watching a movie that goes with it. Others simply enjoy the dark and spooky side of reality. Coraline offers both sides of the coin. So, once you’ve watched it for the 100th time and need other fun options, consider these movies like Coraline.
Dark Kids’ Movies Like Coraline
1. The Boxtrolls (2014)
The Boxtrolls tells the story of an orphan raised by a species of beings called Boxtrolls that live underground. When an evil man decides to wreak havoc on their home and attempt to kill off all the Boxtrolls, their orphan friend, Eggs, ventures above ground to find help — and that help comes in the form of another child. Together, they save the Boxtrolls from extinction. Anytime you’re dealing with possible genocide (even of fictional characters), a film is going to be dark. Add in the grunge and grayness of life underground, and you’re left with a movie that may not catch everyone’s attention. Your spooky kid, however, will love it. And, no, it probably won’t cause nightmares.
2. The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
We’ve seen TNBC a million times, and it still just never gets old. Yes, you’re dealing with a walking, talking, and singing skeleton. But if your kid made it through Coraline, they probably won’t be any more freaked out by Jack. As a bonus, this movie is a solid choice to repeat a million times because it’s full of both Halloween and Christmas. Plus, while it’s mostly set at night and features a ton of black and white, there’s still something rather colorful about this classic film.
3. Frankenweenie (2012)
In our opinion, this 2012 instant classic mixes so well with the others on our list so far. The characters have a grotesque creepiness to them that somehow makes them more endearing. This story is about how a young Frankenstein works to save his dog and make him immortal so that he never has to be without him. Sure, it’s dark, but it’s ultimately a sweet story about a boy and his dog.
4. Alice in Wonderland (2010)
While Alice might seem like an odd choice here, it’s important to note two things. No. 1, we’re talking about the slightly darker Tim Burton version, not the animated Disney classic. And, No. 2, many fans believe Coraline is a spooky retelling of this exact tale. One “obvious” connection is the mice leading Coraline through the door to the other world, just like the white rabbit leads Alice.
5. Where The Wild Things Are (2009)
Meanwhile, Where The Wild Things Are seems like another solid comparison to Coraline. In the end, most books and movies are about a kid who “escapes” reality and finds their imagination takes them to much darker places. Although WTWTA is a bit slow, we still love it.
6. Matilda (1996)
Listen, if you haven’t read Matilda to your kids, what even are you doing with your life?! Honestly, we find the number of people who say they love “the movie” but seemingly have no idea it’s also a book (by the world-famous Roald Dahl) to be genuinely mind-boggling. Our suggestion? Read the book — and then watch Matilda. Let your kid believe they’re magical for a little while longer.
7. Monster House (2006)
In every neighborhood, there’s always one house that’s a bit creepier than the rest. In this animated film, three friends investigate a home they believe is haunted. After several disappearances and other strange occurrences caused by the house, the children discover the monster may not be who they think it is. In Monster House, the kids save the day while embarking on a spooky neighborhood adventure.
More Movies Like Coraline to Watch With Your Little Creeper
- 9 (2009)
- Ma vie de Courgette/My Life as a Zucchini (2016)
- Corpse Bride (2005)
- Hotel Transylvania (2012)
- ParaNorman (2012)
- Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009)
- Edward Scissorhands (1990)
- Jack and the Cuckoo-Clock Heart (2013)
- James and the Giant Peach (1996)
- The BFG (2016)
- Over the Garden Wall (2014)
- Spirited Away (2001)
- Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events (2004)
- Hugo (2011)
- Arthur and the Invisibles (2006)
- My Neighbor Totoro (1988)
- Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (2016)
- Howl’s Moving Castle (2004)
- Rise of the Guardians (2012)
- The Secret of Kells (2009)
- Yona Yona Penguin (2009)
- Igor (2008)
- Scooby-Doo and the Loch Ness Monster (2004)
- Kubo and the Two Strings (2016)
- Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (2005)