‘Hotel Transylvania’ Fails to Bring Laughs or Screams

Nathan Fisher

With Halloween this week, I succumbed to my hankering for an old-fashioned monster movie. The local theater offered a plethora of bloody and gruesome movies, but since I am still recovering from the unexpected bloodbath in “Seven Psychopaths,” I decided on the animated monster-filled “Hotel Transylvania.” Admittedly, “Hotel Transylvania” is a kids’ flick, yet I had high hopes because of the great cast. In retrospect, I should have sucked it up and stuck with down-and-dirty horror.

“Hotel Transylvania” is about an overbearing dad, Count Dracula (Adam Sandler, sporting his best Dracula voice––thankfully, not his usual nasal drawl). Dracula builds a hotel, a monster haven, so that his daughter, Mavis (Selena Gomez), can live safely among monsters and be far away from the evil humans. Frequenting the hotel as guests are all the big name classics: Frankenstein (Kevin James), Murray the mummy (Cee Lo Green), Wayne the big bad wolf (Steve Buscemi) and Griffin the invisible man (David Spade).

This coming-of-age story rambles as the monsters gather at the hotel for Mavis’ birthday bash: a monster mash. Mavis is excited because now on her 118th birthday, she is finally old enough to leave the hotel and explore the world. After allowing Mavis to go just off the hotel grounds, protective papa Dracula brainwashes his innocent daughter into thinking every human is out to kill her, and she promises never to leave the castle-like hotel.

Predictably, something terrible happens: a human (a young man, no less) named Jonathan (Andy Samberg), finds and enters the hotel! Dracula becomes hysterical because his hotel has been human-free for more than 100 years. Not only will Jonathan end Dracula’s safe haven from humans, but Mavis might find out humans are not all bad. Dracula quickly disguises Jonathan as a monster who is helping him plan Mavis’ birthday party.

“Hotel Transylvania” is a predictable mess with flying tables and fart jokes tailored to the kid crowd who will probably enjoy it. The movie attempts to cater to the adult crowd with some dry humor, but simply fails to connect like the classic “Monsters, Inc.” Admittedly, I chuckled at a few of the jokes, but never outright laughed like I expected would happen with this star-studded cast. All in all, if you’re looking for a Halloween treat, skip “Hotel Transylvania” and stick to the classic horror genre.