Plot: After countless encounters with cruel humans who feared and hated monsters, Dracula suffers the tragic loss of his wife and vows to raise his young daughter in a world safe for monsters. He not only wants to keep her safe and maintain the culture of the monsters, but offer other monsters a safe haven to escape to, so he opens a plush hotel in an isolated locale. This proves to be a huge success that attracts monsters from all the world, but when his daughter Mavis turns 118, she is ready to see more than just the hotel. This sends Dracula into a panic, but things only take another turn for the worse when a human wanders into the hotel and of course, strikes up a friendship with Mavis…

Entertainment Value: As a horror fan, it was cool to see Dracula, Frankenstein, the Invisible Man, the Wolfman, and countless other creepy folks all collected in one movie, even if it was an animated feature aimed at family audiences. The movie is loaded with horror related characters and references, especially little details in the visuals, so fans of the genre should find a lot to like there. The narrative is simple, as an overprotective father tries too hard to keep his daughter at home, but when told through this kind of unique lens, it works well enough. The horror elements aren’t just a surface part of the narrative, so while these situations are all familiar, they’re filtered through a horror inspired vision, which keeps things fresh. The tone is silly and slapstick of course, but the horror vibe is still there and especially shines in the visuals, with so many little touches that bring the monster world to life. Hotel Transylvania never reaches Pixar levels of animated greatness, but it is a fun watch and puts some fresh spins on well worn family film tropes.

The visuals are one of the film’s strong points, with some terrific character designs and a great attention to detail. This could have easily been just a standard comedy that happened to include some monsters, but the artists involved packed the visuals with all kinds of details and references. Some of these details might go unnoticed by most viewers, but horror fans will have fun scanning for all the references and horror related elements. I also appreciate that the movie keeps the characters mostly faithful to the source inspirations, just veered toward comedy and for fans of the iconic monsters, it is fun to see these characters in a slapstick environment. The overall animation is good and well detailed, though textures and subtle, fine detail isn’t quite on par with Pixar or elite level animation. The voice cast is led by Adam Sandler and most of the supporting roles are his usual band of costars, such as Kevin James, Steve Buscemi, David Spade, and Any Samberg. The cast also includes Selena Gomez, Molly Shannon, Chris Parnell, and Fran Drescher.

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