Hotel Transylvania: Transformania review – undead franchise finally expires

Hollywood’s most tiring movie franchise has finally expired (with any luck) in a spasm of pure hyperactive pointlessness. Hotel Transylvania was the spooky, Halloweeny, animated family comedy that first surfaced in 2012 about Count Dracula (voiced by Adam Sandler) running a wacky hotel for his fellow scary creatures in darkest Transylvania – Tex Avery meets the Munsters. He discovers that his teen vampire daughter Mavis (Selena Gomez) has fallen for the lost human backpacker, Johnny (Andy Samberg) who shows up at the hotel by accident. The 2015 sequel, co-written by Sandler, had Mavis and Johnny present Count Dracula with a grandchild and the 2018 threequel sent them all off on a frantically unfunny summer vacation.

After this, I wrote: “A fourth one doesn’t bear thinking about.” But here it is. Adam Sandler has dropped out and now it’s Brian Hull doing the Dracula voice. The non-premise now is that Dracula is thinking of leaving the hotel to Mavis and Johnny, but his son-in-law’s outrageous incompetence makes him have second thoughts; so he lies and tells Jonny there is a law that only monsters can inherit the hotel. Johnny gets the elderly Prof Van Helsing to zap him with a secret “Monstification” ray-gun which turns him into a scary creature, but its errant beams turn all the other monsters into human civilians, including Drac himself. Cue all sorts of strangely tired, laugh-free goofiness, with none of the funny lines and wit that come as standard with Pixar/Disney films. I guess it would pacify very young children.

• Hotel Transylvania: Transformania is released on 14 January on Amazon Prime Video.