Australian Council on Children and the Media

Hotel Transylvania 2

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Not recommended under 8; parental guidance recommended 8-10 (Violence; Scary scenes and characters)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Hotel Transylvania 2
  • a review of Hotel Transylvania 2 completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 1 December 2015.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 8 Not recommended due to violence, and scary scenes and characters
Children 8-10 Parental guidance recommended due to violence, and scary scenes and characters
Children aged 10 and over OK for this age group

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: Hotel Transylvania 2
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild animated violence and some scary scenes
Length 89 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

In the first Hotel Transylvania film, a young human called Jonathan (Andy Samberg) stayed at a hotel for monsters owned by Dracula (Adam Sandler) and fell in love with Dracula’s daughter Mavis (Selena Gomez). In Hotel Transylvania 2, Mavis marries Jonathan and gives birth to a beautiful, and to all appearances perfectly normal, human baby boy whom they name Dennis (Asher Blikoff).

As Dennis grows and approaches his fifth birthday, Mavis becomes concerned about Dennis being human while grandpa Drac becomes more and more anxious about Dennis not having shown any signs of becoming a vampire; usually vampire children get their fangs and are able to fly by the age of five.

Mavis believes that a hotel full of monsters is not a safe place for her young human son to grow up in and wants to move. In preparation for the move, Mavis and Jonathan travel to California to visit Jonathan’s parents and check out the neighbourhood, while young Dennis is left in the care of grandpa Drac and his four friends, Frank/Frankenstein’s monster (Kevin James), Wayne/The Wolfman (Steve Buscemi), Murry/The Mummy (Keegan-Michael Key), and Griffin/The Invisible Man (David Spade).

Drac believes that with the right motivation and tutelage Dennis will grow his fangs and, with Mavis out of the way, takes matters into his own hands. Drac and his pals take Dennis on a road trip to Monster Summer Cap where Drac himself learned to be a monster when he was a young boy. Unfortunately for Drac, Mavis finds out and rescues her son, taking him back to Hotel Transylvania and telling her father that she will be leaving with Dennis after his fifth birthday.

On the day of Dennis’ birthday, all the relatives arrive at the hotel to celebrate. Dracula’s father Vlad (Mel Brooks), who has a strong hatred for anyone human, reacts strongly to the discovery that his great-grandson and in-laws are human and this has unexpected results.

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

The supernatural; vampires; discrimination; family relationships

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

Hotel Transylvania 2 contains animated slapstick violence and accidental harm throughout. Some scenes depict menace, threats of more serious violence and acts of violence towards children. Examples include:

  • A reference is made to a vampire eating a human.
  • A one-year-old human child is given a miniature guillotine as a birthday present. The child’s mother take the guillotine saying that she is going to make it childproof while another woman makes the comment “so you cut your finger off – it’s all part of the fun”.
  • A pack of werewolf cubs eat lollies and become hyperactive, destroying a bouncy castle. During the mayhem a human child playing with the wolf cubs is knocked to the ground and knocks a tooth out. 
  • In reference to a child becoming a vampire, an adult vampire says “The kid will be guzzling goat blood in no time”.
  • There is reference to Dracula’s mother being killed by humans.
  • In one scene a monster doing yoga is seen being stretched on a torture rack; the monster screams out with a look of ecstasy on his face.
  • Drac throws his grandson off a tower in an attempt to encourage him to fly. When the young boy doesn’t fly his grandfather jumps off the tower and flies down catching the young boy just before he hits the ground. The tower collapses and falls on the camp resulting in a monster’s head catching fire.  The monster runs through the camp, setting it alight and destroying it.
  • A scary vampire bat attacks a young boy and werewolf girl cub and they scream in fear. The bat grabs the pair by their clothes and lifts them up into the air. The girl bites the bat’s hand and it throws her through the air. She tumbles across the ground until she comes to rest lying motionless, whimpering like an injured dog.
  • Towards the end of the film a young boy transforms into a vampire. The young boy is attacked by a large bat which is blown off its feet by the force of the boy’s roar. The resulting battle involves an army of bats fighting monsters, including vampires. Tennis balls and rocks are used as weapons and there is also biting and punching. A bat attempts to stab a man in the back with a spear.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are many scenes and characters in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of five, including the following:

  • The film contains all manner of comically animated stereotypical monsters of all shapes, size and colour that slither, creep, crawl and shuffle. These include Dracula, Frankenstein’s monster, the Mummy, the Wolf-man, the creature from the Black Lagoon and a variety of animated skeletons. In one scene Frankenstein’s monster removes his own head and holds it for a selfie.
  • Vlad has a skeletal appearance with claw-like talons, long fangs and a menacing and threatening mannerism. Vlad is constantly surrounded by a small army of scary vampire bats with large fangs
  • One scene depicts an animated wedding cake that screams out in pain whenever a slice of cake is cut.  The slices of cake jump off the table to escape being eaten. 
  • A man is covered with a pile of bird seed which attracts crows. The crows cover the man’s body, pecking at the seed as if devouring him.
  • The film contains a couple of nursery rhymes that have been altered to contain violent and gory verses. For example “Twinkle, twinkle little star” goes, “Suffer, suffer scream in pain. Blood is spilling from my brain. Zombies paw you like a plum”.
  • When Dennis transforms into a vampire, his face and eyes turn angry red and his teeth fall out and are replaced by fangs.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

Children in this age group are also likely to be disturbed by the above-mentioned scenes

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

Some younger children in this age group may also be disturbed by some of the above-mentioned scenes

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

Nothing of concern

Product placement

The following products are displayed or used in this movie:

  • Facebook and YouTube
  • Mobile phones

Sexual references

There are some sexual references in this movie, including:

  • A male mummy says to a monster friend, “How hot is my date?” and the friend replies “Wow, so hot!”
  • A young vampire woman tells her father that she is pregnant and shows her father her swollen stomach.
  • A man says to his wife, “Are we ever going to be alone again, I need to feel loved too”.
  • Dracula asks his young grandson (five-years-old) “Do you miss Winnie, that cub who tries to lick you all the time”. The young boy responds with “Yeah we’re just friends” and Dracula then says “No, no, no you’re a Dracula - you just can’t be friends with a cute hairy number like Winnie”.
  • A female werewolf is depicted as continuously pregnant, with an extended stomach and references to the number of wolf cubs to which she has given birth.       

Nudity and sexual activity

There is some nudity and sexual activity in this movie, including:

  • After being married, Jonathan and Mavis kiss
  • Dracula dresses in drag, wearing a woman’s wig and a nurse’s dress, in order to gain access to a delivery room. He has comically large breasts and bottom. A monster fancies Dracula and sprays mouth freshener in his mouth and puckers up his lips ready to kiss him. Dracula bares his fangs and the monster backs off.
  • In a couple of scenes an octopus-like monster smothers a man’s face with kisses, leaving him smeared with red lipstick.

Use of substances

There is some use of substances in this movie, including:

  • Social drinking of wine
  • A woman drinks dozens of different flavoured Slurpies.       

Coarse language

There is some coarse language and name-calling in this movie, including:

  • Holy rabies; shut your butt hole; baboon’s butt; pee; boobies
  • Devil Dog; stupid; were-wussy; whimp; cowards

There is also some toilet humour involving urination and an incident with a damaged toilet.

In a nutshell

Hotel Transylvania 2 is an animated comedy targeting older children and adolescents. The film is well suited to older children with lots of humour related to horror movie characters and parenting styles, and plenty of slapstick comedy. There are, however, a number of scenes and characters which are likely to scare children under eight, including scary monsters and harm to children, so the film is not recommended for this age group and parental guidance is recommended for slightly older children.

The main message from this movie is that you cannot make someone into something they are not. The film also includes positive messages about families, friendships, diversity and acceptance.

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