Breezy computer animated comedy Hotel Transylvania turns familiar horror lore upside down: it’s the monsters that are running scared of humans.
Fear not, Count Dracula (voiced by Adam Sandler) has created the perfect refuge for his spooky brethren, a Romanian hotel castle where such iconic monsters as Frankenstein and his bride, the Invisible Man and a pack of werewolves can chill out unmolested.
No human has set foot in the castle until goofy American backpacker Johnny (Andy Samberg) stumbles into the hotel just as its residents are about to celebrate the coming-of-age 118th birthday of the widowed Dracula’s only child, Mavis (Selena Gomez). To rescue the situation, Dracula disguises Johnny, passing him off as Frankenstein’s cousin, but his plans go askew when Mavis and Johnny fall in love.
First-time director Genndy Tartakovsky and his Sony Pictures animators have fun revealing a different side to cinema’s usually fearsome monsters – presenting Sandler’s Dracula as an over-protective control freak, Kevin James’s Frankenstein as a big-hearted lug and Steve Buscemi’s werewolf Wayne as a weary put-upon dad, for example.
And they summon up some impressive visual effects in their realisation of the monsters’ world. So it’s disappointing that the vacuous teen love story is so predictable and that the quality of the gags isn’t better. (Enough already with the fart and poop jokes.) For all the voice cast’s sterling efforts, Hotel Transylvania falls well short of Pixar’s level of invention and certainly can’t match the wit of Monsters, Inc.
In cinemas from Friday 12th October.
To activate the sound in the trailer: hold your cursor over the screen to reveal the control panel and click on the volume control in the bottom right-hand corner.