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Hotel Transylvania (2012) - Movie Review for Parents

About.com Rating 3 Star Rating


Hotel Transylvania
Photo © Sony

Bottom line: Hotel Transylvania presents a fun, though fairly shallow, monster comedy for the whole family. Some scary images may scare very young children, but most of these scenes are injected with comedy to lighten the impact.

MPAA Rating: PG, for some rude humor, action and scary images
Genre: Animation/Comedy/Family
Guide age recommendation: 5+
Runtime: 91 minutes
Starring: Adam Sandler, Selena Gomez, Andy Samberg
Release Date: September 28, 2012

Hotel Transylvania - Overview

Having lost his beloved wife years ago, Dracula (Adam Sandler) is very protective of his daughter Mavis (Selena Gomez). He and Mavis reside in a five-stake resort castle that Dracula built, so that all of their beloved monster friends can come stay with them, and Mavis can be forever protected from the dangerous human world.

On Mavis' 118th birthday, Dracula plans a monster bash, inviting all of their friends such as Frankenstein, the Mummy, the Invisible Man and more. But, all Mavis wants is to go outside and explore the world. Dracula successfully squashes Mavis' dreams of world travel, and he figures his carefully constructed plan has worked. That is, until a human accidentally happens upon the hotel, turning Mavis' head and turning Dracula's world upside down.

Mavis & DraculaPhoto © Sony Pictures Animation, Inc.

Hotel Transylvania - Guide Review for Parents

Hotel Transylvania features hilarious monsters and spooky surroundings, making it a perfect movie for Halloween time family fun. Unfortunately, the core story takes a dive about half way through the movie, but the colorful animation is well done and the characters provide a decent dose of comedy. Kids will enjoy the zany monsters and their unconventional antics, and the film isn't too bad for parents to sit through either.

While the film does contain a few scary images, such as Dracula emitting red-faced and glowing-eyed snarls when he's angry, the scary scenes are generally comic in nature. The film is certainly a comedy and not meant to be frightening; however, young children may be briefly frightened by a couple of perilous scenes, particularly when a town full of fire and pitch fork-wielding zombies (pretending to be people) converge on a character in a menacing way (they don't intend to hurt her). The movie also contains some mild potty humor and a few rude insults or words like "idiot" or "shut up."

Hotel Transylvania - Content Overview

*May contain spoilers.

  • Violence (Medium): Slapstick violence occurs throughout the movie including things like monsters losing body parts, characters slamming into walls and other objects, monsters getting into roughhousing fights. A monster attempts to roast a human. In one scene, a zombie mob (pretending to be people) chases a character and accidentally lights the town on fire. In a flashback story, a mob lights a house on fire resulting in the death of a character.
  • Scary Scenes (High): Scenes listed under "violence" could be scary to young kids. Young kids who are generally unsettled or frightened by monster type characters could be frightened during the movie, even though the monsters are generally funny and benign.
  • Sex/Nudity (Low): A few mild suggestive jokes are made, like two fleas who are angry to be interrupted on their "honeymoon" and kiss when the door shuts. Zombies stare and smile as a female zombie walks by. A brief kiss is shown.
  • Drugs and Alcohol (None): A few characters are shown sitting with drinks, but we don't know what they're drinking.
  • Language (Low): A few mild rude words like "idiot" are used.
  • Disrespectful/Imitative Behavior (High): Dracula lies to his daughter to protect her. Kids may imitate jokes about monsters farting or other mild potty jokes. The monsters get a little rowdy in a few scenes, fighting on at least one occasion.
Hotel GuestsPhoto © Sony Pictures Animation, Inc.

  • Sad/Unsettling Scenes (High): The back story about Mavis' mother and her tragic death could be unsettling to some kids. Mavis is hurt and angry when she finds out her father lied to her. Dracula is sad to see his daughter grow up and desire to go out on her own.
  • Movie Topics Kids Might Have Questions About: love at first sight, love, monsters, death of a parent, mob violence, vampires, bats
Disclosure: The studio provided a free screening of this movie for review purposes. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.
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