- Accidental Aesop: The boxtrolls coming out of their boxes could be seen as a subtle allegory that you shouldn't let anxiety or idiosyncrasies trap you if it only serves to keep you from doing what needs to be done. Sometimes, you've got to think outside the box.
- As Archibald demonstrates, sometimes what you want isn't what's best for you.
- Accidental Innuendo: Archibald Snatcher. Yes, it's a reference to how he "snatches" things, but... still...
- Alternative Character Interpretation: Is Archibald Snatcher just a man driven to gain power and respect at all cost or is he really just looking for comradery and be accepted by high society? In the end where he has everything he wanted (in the tasting room, surrounded by—who he believes are—the other white hats, and about to eat the most delicious piece of cheese in their collection) he seems to have a look of utter horror on his face like he believes he has to do this.
- Broken Base: This one is often the mostly argued about of Laika's films. There's a consensus that this film's got great animation but in terms of story, plot, and characters the film isn't as out of the box and as good as Laika's other films. Whether this means the film is good but weaker than the previous and later films or if Boxtrolls itself was just a creative misfire on Laika's part depends on the fan and/or critic.
- Complete Monster: Archibald Snatcher is a self-styled Boxtroll exterminator who, while initially appearing to be eccentric and goofy, reveals himself as something far more unhinged as the story runs its course. Envying the lifestyles of the elite "White Hats" Snatcher drives forth a campaign to eliminate every Boxtroll in Cheesebridge to motivate the White Hats into letting him join higher society. Ten years prior to the main plot, Snatcher is shown attempting to extort something out of the father of the-then infant Eggs by threatening the baby's life; when Eggs's father refuses to cooperate with his demands, Snatcher apparently kills him with a wrenchin actuality keeping the man under locks until he was Driven to Madness. Snatcher later obliterates the Boxtrolls' home and gleefully attempts to crush them en masse while forcing Eggs to watch, and shortly after dresses the boy as a Boxtroll and then attempts to burn him alive in his attempt to endear himself to the White Hats. Shown at various times as a self-concerned megalomaniac who would willingly try to kill children to further his goals, Snatcher really stands out in such a lighthearted movie.
- Crosses the Line Twice: Some characters' antics, such as Lord Portly-Rind using his funds to build a cheese wheel instead of a children's hospital.
- Draco in Leather Pants: Snatcher surprisingly has a fan following who believe him to be a Jerkass Woobie who had good justification to act the way he did and got a raw deal in the end. They generaly go by the second Alternative Character Interpretation.
- Hilarious in Hindsight:
- Elle Fanning voices a character in a stop-motion film by Laika... Just like her sister did a few years ago in Coraline. Additionally, this is the second time Elle has played a redhead, the first time being in Ginger and Rosa.
- For some viewers, it's hard not to watch a movie where a character obsesses over trading hats in an attempt to rise in social ranking without being reminded of the world's greatest hat-trading simulator.
- Hype Backlash: It amassed a pretty big following when it was first released and got mostly-positive reactions, but others felt that it was not good enough, or at least fell short compared to Paranorman.
- Moe: Eggs, both when he was a baby and a pre-teen.
- Moral Event Horizon: Archibald Snatcher doesn't seem that nasty of a villain and rather a goofy one at best, until later on in a flashback that He kept Eggs' biological father captive for many years, driving him to insanity even though the flashback had him intending to murder him with a wrench. Even worse, he knows the whole time that the Boxtrolls are harmless but lied to the whole town simply so he can be a part of the White Hats. His actions are bad enough to make him irredeemable, but near the end He forced Eggs to watch his adopted family get murdered (they escaped in time, but still), and dressed Eggs up as the last Boxtroll and tried to kill him in a furnace. Archibald then rampages through the square and endangers everyone before abducting Winnie.
- Nausea Fuel: Snatcher's cheese allergies are nasty, especially towards the end of the movie. To say nothing of when said allergies cause him to explode.
- Toy Ship: Eggs and Winnie, especially during the dance scene.
- Ugly Cute: The Boxtrolls themselves. They're little, dirty, gray creatures who wear boxes and only come out at night. They have grubby fingers, large teeth, and eyes that glow in the dark. They are also terribly timid, have very innocent motivations, and have the cutest little voices.
- Visual Effects of Awesome: Snatcher's Mecha-Drill is a five foot tall behemoth of a prop and the largest stop motion animated puppet produced for any film (well until Laika broke their own record with the Gashadokuro in Kubo and the Two Strings).
- What Do You Mean, "It's for Kids"?: The Boxtrolls appears to not know who it's aimed for. It has a little girl obsessed with blood and guts and wanting the boxtrolls to eat the flesh off of her skin, a little boy almost gets burned in fire, faints sometime in the film, not to mention perhaps one of the most sinister villains to ever appear in an animated film.
- The Woobie: Eggs, because of all that happened in the film. Winnie also counts because she is constantly ignored by her parents.
YMMV / The Boxtrolls