Monster Family

Emma (Emily Watson) is a hard-working mom who wishes her family had more time to do fun things together. It’s been a while since they were all happy. In an effort to reconnect, Emma plans a fun Halloween night out but the party is a bust and instead of growing closer, they get cursed by a witch, who turns them into the monsters inspired by their costumes – Emma into a vampire, husband Frank (Nick Frost) into Frankenstein’s monster, daughter Fay (Jessica Brown Findlay) into a mummy and son Max (Ethan Rouse) into a little werewofie.

Being turned into monsters is an inconvenience, certainly, but not without its upside as well: little Max uses his fearsome fangs to confront his bullies. Fay tests her boyfriend’s superficiality. Frank, well Frank has so little personality he just continues to fart a lot.

This is a kids’ movie, so there’s a lesson to be learned about making time for what’s important (and secondarily, weirdly, that our abusers were perhaps abused themselves). There’s some sympathy for the Yoda-speaking witch, though less for her boss, the creepy incel Dracula (Jason Isaacs). Mostly there’s just a very confused plot, the result of a screenplay that’s just not concerned with giving good story. I think you’d get more satisfaction from the story arc in the lyrics to monster mash than you do in this movie which pays lip service to family bonding while utterly boring us to tears.

Kids might like the bat sidekicks and the hazy green fart jokes, but there’s so little in between that attentions will wander. The lips don’t even match the voice work, if you can even call it that when poor Nick Frost is relegated to grunts. I mean, he’s probably pretty expensive for grunt work. You might have gone with no-name grunts and saved yourself a pretty penny, which then could have been invested in better writing or more compelling animation. Too late now – the movie is what it is, and what it is is entirely missable.

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