By John Young
Updated November 02, 2011 at 09:44 PM EDT

I was watching some of Coraline on TV the other day, and despite some reservations I have about that movie, I’m rather happy it exists. We need some dark, spooky mischief in our animated films, and the medium of stop-motion animation is perfectly suited for that.

So here’s ParaNorman — the next film from Coraline animation studio Laika — with a new trailer that won me over from the first psychedelic guitar strum of Donovan’s “Season of the Witch.” A spiritual successor of sorts to Coraline, the movie is about a boy named Norman (Kodi Smit-McPhee) who can communicate with the dead and, subsequently, has to save his town from a zombie invasion. Casey Affleck, Anna Kendrick, John Goodman, and Leslie Mann also provide voices, but the real selling point here is that stop-motion animation. Look at that sunrise-lit shot of Norman’s neighborhood street and tell me it isn’t lovely (while also feeling more tangible than CG animation).

ParaNorman invades theaters in 3-D on Aug. 17, 2012. Check out the trailer below: