When Dracula becomes a grandpa, he is convinced that little Dennis will be a vampire despite the little boy being half human. With his parents, Mavis and Johnny, interested only in their baby’s well being, Dracula takes it upon himself to prove the child’s monster status but, as the years pass and with Dennis’ fifth birthday coming up fast (the age by which he should get his fangs), Dracula may have to accept that his grandson is not what he hopes him to be.

Hotel Transylvania 2 (2015) – Director: Genndy Tartakovsky

Is Hotel Transylvania 2 appropriate for kids

“Hotel Transylvania 2 poster” by Source. Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Hotel_Transylvania_2_poster.jpg#/media/File:Hotel_Transylvania_2_poster.jpg

Rating: U

Running Length: 89 mins

Starring: Adam Sandler, Selena Gomez, Andy Samberg

Genre: Animated, Comedy, Horror

** PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS REVIEW MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS FOR THOSE WHO HAVE NOT SEEN ‘HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA’ **

REVIEW

Following the success of ‘Hotel Transylvania’, this sequel is set several years later. Mavis and Johnny get married and soon have a baby son, Dennis, who is adored by all the family. Dracula’s obsession with passing his vampire heritage down to his grandson endangers the child’s life and threatens to destroy his relationship with his daughter, Mavis. This level of prejudice is very relatable to a lot of people, especially when an innocent child is caught in the middle.

While this is an enjoyable movie, there are very few ‘laugh out loud’ moments and the humour is often a little too sedate. Also, the plot, which is mostly concerned with Dracula’s obsession, isn’t enough to keep the pace of the film going, especially as his change of heart comes rather suddenly, right at the end of the film where it could have been a more gradual realisation, making it a lot more realistic.

Overall, ‘Hotel Transylvania 2’ is unlikely to be a family favourite but it is very watchable, full of fun and littered with horror staples that both kids and adults can enjoy.

IS ‘HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA 2’ SUITABLE FOR CHILDREN?

The movie opens with a wedding and a very cute flower girl walks demurely down the aisle. A large pack of small dogs jumps on her so that she completely disappears underneath them. The dogs swarm on her, make snarling and growling noises and for around 3 seconds it appears that they are attacking and possibly hurting her but they quickly leave her and she is shown to be fine but bewildered and dishevelled.

The wedding cake is cut into and one of its tiers opens to reveal a mouth which screams in pain. A few cuts are made which cause the cake to scream each time but no-one reacts to this. The slices of cake also come to life which have mouths and make similar noises although they do not appear to be hurt. They jump around, eventually hopping off the plates to make their escape. A similar thing happens later in the movie where a bowl of ‘Monster Ball Soup’ is brought to a character to eat; this dish contains three large dumplings which are sentient, have faces and make noises/talk in a simplified language and although they do not appear to be afraid of being eaten, this could be distressing for some kids.

After it is revealed that Mavis is pregnant, she tells her husband, Johnny, that she wants ice cream with anchovies in it. Her father, Dracula, tells her that she should have bugs and sheep bile instead, a sheep is brought in which spits up bile onto the plate which has a large pile of wriggling bugs on it.

A couple gives a ‘My First Guillotine’ gift to a baby which is quickly taken away by the mother. One of the couple says dismissively ‘So you might cut your finger off, it’s part of the fun!’

A character looks at a Facebook page which has an advertisement for a ‘Brain Burger’ which has an accompanying image of a burger with a large, pink brain inside it.

A child wakes up and tells another character that they were dreaming of dinosaurs, the other character hopefully asks ‘were you drinking its blood?’ and appears disappointed when the child says that they weren’t. Dracula is seen getting ready for bed and brushes his teeth. He then picks up a cup which is full of blood and gargles with it before spitting it out as would normally be done with water; he then uses a spider’s silk to floss his teeth.

A character sings ‘Twinkle Twinkle Little Star’ to their child as he falls asleep and another character sings different words to the song, these include ‘Suffer, suffer, scream in pain; Blood is spilling from your brain’ and ‘Suffer, suffer, scream in pain; You will never breathe again’.

A werewolf is told to ‘go kill something’ which he is very reluctant to do. A small, cute deer walks by and, as a horrified child watches, he is pressured into killing it and called a ‘werewussy’. However, the werewolf does not actually harm the deer and seems relieved that he hasn’t had to do it. Shortly after, a Mummy is told to perform a curse, again he does not really want to but is pressured into it. He then attempts to cast a spell which involves him using strange words, posing in awkward/comedic positions; the lighting is dark and mist appears around the character. This lasts for a few seconds and could be a little scary for some kids.

In an attempt to push Dennis into becoming a vampire and learning to fly, Dracula throws him off the top of a large, rickety structure. Dracula’s friends try to persuade him to rescue him but he is adamant that Dennis will be fine. After around a minute, Dracula suddenly realises that Dennis does in fact need to be saved and catches him at the last second. Dennis is not harmed and is not upset by this.

Some humans are disguised as zombies and move towards a character who is unaware that they are just pretending. They approach her menacingly and she shrinks away from them, however after a few seconds they reveal that they are wearing make-up and were just joking with her. This could be quite scary for younger kids.

A cute, children’s character is transformed into a terrifying monster; it is made clear that a human is wearing the costume but a villain makes the costume’s head spin around, the man inside asks what is going on and seems bemused by what is happening and he gradually sounds more and more afraid. He then changes into a huge, muscular and aggressive creature. This scares a young boy who has to be comforted by a loved one.

A huge bat attacks Dennis and his friend. They are both afraid and the bat says mean things to Dennis which upsets him. This leads to a fight between the ‘good’ characters and an army of large bats which gets a little intense at times and could be a little frightening for kids.

CAN I SEE A CLIP?

VERDICT

‘Hotel Transylvania 2’ is entertaining and fun but may not be to everyone’s taste. Although it has been advertised as a movie that is appropriate for all ages, with a lot of horror related imagery and dialogue, we wouldn’t recommend it for kids aged under 6 and even then would advise caution for kids who may struggle with some of the themes as described above.

  • Violence: 2/5 (a bad character is seen to be punched in slow motion and several of his teeth are knocked out)
  • Emotional Distress: 1/5 (Dracula describes his grandson as a kind, sweet little boy and his obvious love for the boy is emotionally touching)
  • Fear Factor: 3/5 (there are several zombies that work for Dracula; they have dead/vacant expressions and move around slowly. One accidentally drills into his hand which causes the hand to come off and spin around quickly. There is no blood and this does not cause him any pain. The scene with the large bats may be too frightening for young children)
  • Sexual Content: 1/5 (one character says ‘boobies’. As the end credits roll, a short animation plays of a magician and his assistant. The magician is a monster and at one point he is shown to be topless with three hanging breasts. A little later, he pulls out one of his eyes and squeezes it between his fingers, there is no blood with this image)              
  • Bad Language: 0/5
  • Dialogue: 3/5 (A character is told that Mavis’ mother was ‘killed by angry humans’, one character says ‘guzzling goat blood’. The alternative words to ‘Twinkle Twinkle Little Star are quite graphic)
  • Other notes: Deals with themes of family heritage, prejudice, forcing a child to be something they are not, unconditional family love and doing what is best for your children.

Words by Laura Record

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