Hotel Transylvania (U)
An exclusive away-from-it-all resort – Castle Dracula – for the world’s mythical monsters. A party to end all parties for teenager who’s just turned 118. And an over-protective dad with an entrepreneurial streak who just happens to be the Count himself…
This, then, is the premise of Hotel Transylvania, a smarter than average kiddie flick voiced by the likes of Adam Sandler, Selena Gomez, Steve Buscemi and CeeLo Green.
It’s laugh-a-minute stuff with Sandler in Bela Lugosi mode as the vampire keeping a close eye on daughter Mavis – particularly when she falls for a back-packing human who happens upon the gathering and decides to join in.
Suddenly Drac has to hide the boy to preserve the illusion of olde-worlde monsterdom. And with Mavis looking to spread her wings (literally; she’s a chip off the old block) Dracula has a potential catastrophe on his hands.
There have been jokey child-orientated horror flicks before including some like 1967’s Mad Monster Party that now seem like period pieces. Hotel Transylvania is an up-to-date addition that brings the old faces – Frankenstein’s monster, the Mummy, Quasimodo and various crumbling zombies – to glorious 21st century life and always with a nod to the past.
There are a smattering of fleeting moments that will temporarily unnerve very young children (such as when Drac reveals his ‘official’ face for his unwelcome guest) but on the whole this is a considered and deeply funny pastiche-cum-genuflection that knows where the laughs are and goes after them.
Older viewers will buy into the loneliness of the vampire’s existence and the nods to classic films of the past, notably the 1930s Universal series with Lugosi, Karloff and Co.
What’s more, Sandler is on winning form with a spot-on impersonation of Lugosi. Who’d ever have thought Transylvania’s premier aristocrat could be this amusing…?