I’m going to be honest with you, I really don’t like Adam Sandler. I find the eternal man child shtick that made him so successful to be unendurably irritating, but that just makes it all the more significant when one of his movies actually worth recommending comes along. Such is the case with Hotel Transylvania, which is currently in the Top 10 of Hulu’s rankings.
The premise sees Count Dracula (Sandler) operating a hotel deep in the mountainous depths of the infamous Romanian region where monsters can be free to live as themselves without fear of persecution, in which he attempts to shield his teenage daughter Mavis (Selena Gomez) from the world. So things may have continued had free-spirited backpacking human Johnny (Andy Samberg) not accidentally discovered the place and unintentionally threatened its future when he and Mavis instantly fall for each other.
The film was helmed by animation legend Genndy Tartakovsky in his feature debut, and has all the colorful vibrancy you’d expect of his work. It brings to life multiple iterations of creatures from classic horror pics such as Frankenstein’s Monster, the Wolfman, the Mummy, the Fly, the Blob, and the Invisible Man, along with assorted zombies, skeletons and various entities of myth, all realized with child-friendly variations that nevertheless don’t lose sight of what makes them scary.
Being a family film, Hotel Transylvania is a straightforward story with standard messages kids will understand, principally that you should never be afraid to be who you truly are for concern of what others might think of you. It’s bright and inoffensive fun anchored by Adam Sandler’s unusually sympathetic take on the iconic vampire, and was successful enough to spawn two sequels (with a third and final follow-up arriving in a few months’ time) and a TV series, each expanding its world of very human monsters.