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Monster Family (otherwise known as Happy Family) is a 2017 British-German computer animated horror comedy film directed and produced by Holger Tappe, and co-written by David Safier, from his children's book Happy Family. The film stars Emily Watson, Nick Frost, Jessica Brown Findlay, Celia Imrie, Catherine Tate, and Jason Isaacs.[2][3][4] The film bombed upon release with critics and was panned by audiences.

Plot

The film begins in Transylvania, where Count Dracula laments his loneliness among his three bat servants. Suddenly, he receives a call via cellphone from Emma Wishbone, who has mistakenly called him instead of a monster costume store (and unintentionally gains Dracula's interest). Rotten luck bedevils Emma until she reaches her bookstore, where she complains to her worker, Cheyenne, of all the troubles plaguing her family:

  • Her own bookstore is in dire financial straits
  • Her son, Max, is bullied in school and is a social outcast due to his nerdy mannerisms
  • Her daughter, Fay, is constantly sarcastic and rude, caring only about boys
  • Her husband, Frank, is constantly overworked and sleep-deprived

Seeking to foster a sense of family, Emma makes a handful of monster costumes for her family- her as a vampire, Frank as Frankenstein's monster, Fay as a mummy, and Max as a werewolf -to wear to a "Monster Costume Party" presented by Cheyenne. Though the family is clearly not in the mood for such an outing, they nevertheless reach their destination. Unexpectedly, they receive a star treatment, only to discover that they have been mistaken for a monster-themed rock-and-roll band that was meant to perform at the party. Security deposits the family unceremoniously into the alleyway behind the building, where Emma finally snaps. The bad evening only grows worse when Baba Yaga- the infamous Russian witch -arrives to turn Emma into a vampire with a transformative curse (as Dracula wanted Emma to become a vampire, but retain her soul). The spell works, but unexpectedly turns the rest of the family into the monsters they were portraying, as the person(s) to be cursed would have to be unhappy for the curse to work. Enraged, Emma chases down Baba Yaga while her family splits up to visit various spots around the city. Fay goes to hook up with the guy she likes only to be discarded due to her appearance and Max makes the school bully run away. Emma eventually captures Baba Yaga, demanding to have her family returned to normal, only to discover the old witch's amulet (the source of her power) has worn out and must be recharged at the Eye of London, a massive focus point for ley energy and she disappears.

As the Wishbone family regroups at home, they realize they must catch the witch to return to normal. With help from Cheyenne (who is unafraid of the Wishbones' new appearance), the Wishbones reach the airport. Fay manages to get them on the plane as she can hypnotize people, which she does in abandom. Onboard the flight, Emma begins to spiral into the more violent side of vampirism, as her bloodlust kicks in and she attempts to bite one of her fellow passengers. A timely intervention from Dracula halts this, and he absconds with the confused and blood-hungry Emma onboard his own personal jet, leaving her family onboard the plane.

Meanwhile Baba Yaga keeps trying to get to London and ending up other places like Italy.

As her family wonders where she is, Dracula tries to talk Emma into running away with him. She initially considers due to not being happy with the issues in general with her family but when she refuses, Dracula unceremoniously tosses her from his jet.

As Emma regroups with the family by the London eye, she tells the family how she got separated from them. Dracula gets upset and tells his hunchback servant to prepare his snowflake machine, using the first few snowflakes to destroy the world in retaliation.

Meanwhile Baba Yaga gets her amulet charged and when Emma tries to take back the amulet, Baba sends them to Egypt. When Cheyenne tries to help, through events she ends up helping Baba and they become friends and Baba Yaga tells her about Dracula's plan to turn Emma into a monster and how Dracula imprisoned her and said he would free her if she did what he asked and that the only way for them to return to normal was to be happy as theirselves despite their forms.

Emma and the family while in the desert have hallucinations of a Oasis but when that fades they unknowingly walk in a circle.

Dracula shows off the snowflakes power to his servant and swears revenge on the humans.

Meanwhile in Egypt, Emma makes her children angry at her and as a result, Max and Fay go off on their own in separate directions. Emma then gets angry at her husband and pushes him away.

Dracula had been watching her, and seeing this, goes to get her as she wanders around until the bloodlust finally takes over and she almost attacked some tourists. Dracula narrowly saves them and takes her away to his castle.

As Frank and the kids find themselves in better luck, Frank comes across a Jeep of models, Fay meets a pharoah mummy guy who tells her she's pretty and shows her how to use her powers to became a sandstorm. Max gets mistaken for a piece of food by a camel and he chases it to a desert hotel with glass pyramids where Frank happens to be.

Dracula in his castle seeks to romance Emma and dances the tango and though she refuses at first, she agrees. After being shown to her beautiful new room, Emma (through flashbacks) realizes she misses her family. Cheyenne and Yaga then suddenly appear and explain the truth about what Dracula had done to Yaga.

Frank, Fay, and Max separately come to realize that their newfound luck doesn't compare to when they are together as a family. Yaga and Cheyenne then transport them to Dracula's castle.

Dracula’s hunchbacked Butler, Renfield, then tells them that if Emma doesn’t marry Dracula, he will shoot a magical snowflake into the sun, causing all life on earth to die (except for vampires as they don’t require sunlight).

The family confronts Dracula, with the intention of pouring homemade holy water in his bath and though they lose initially, they eventually turn themselves human (by realizing their love and need for each other, and becoming happy). They then gain the upper hand by exposing Dracula to sunlight, and permanently freezing him with his snowflake.

The Wishbones return home and their circumstances change; Frank stands up for himself at work after putting a photo of their family adventure with the frozen Dracula on his desk; Max stops getting bullied; and Fay meets a nerdy guy in a knight’s costume at a costume party that Emma throws at home. Baba Yaga, Renfield the hunchbacked Butler, and the three bats come and crash the party. The family takes another photo together, showing their happiness.

Cast

  • Emily Watson as Emma Wishbone, Frank's wife and the mother of Fay and Max. She is also the matriarch who is turned into a vampire.
  • Nick Frost as Frank Wishbone, Emma's husband and the father of Fay and Max. He is turned into a monster similar to Frankenstein's monster.
  • Jessica Brown Findlay as Fay Wishbone, the daughter of Emma and Frank who is turned into a mummy.
  • Celia Imrie as Cheyenne, a worker at Emma's bookstore and family friend.
  • Catherine Tate as Baba Yaga, Renfield's wife, Battie's captive and Dracula's former captive witch, she is responsible for turning the Wishbone family into monsters.
  • Jason Isaacs as Count Dracula, a vampire who is the recipient of a mis-dialled call from Emma and becomes infatuated with her and Frank's arch-nemesis.
  • Ethan Rouse as Max Wishbone, the son of Emma and Frank who is turned into a werewolf.
  • Ewan Bailey as Renfield, Baba Yaga's husband, Battie's butler and Dracula´s former butler.
  • Issac Rouse as Jaydon, Fay's boyfriend.
  • Daniel Ben Zenou as Imhotep, Fay's ex-boyfriend, Frank's arch-rival and also who is turned into a mummy.

Release

The film was released from the first time in Brazil on August 17, 2017, released by the brazilian distributor Paris Filmes. It was later released in Germany on August 24 by Warner Bros. in the same year. In 2018, it was released in the United States on February 2 by Viva Pictures and in the United Kingdom on March 2 by Altitude Film Distribution.

Reception

On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 10% based on 20 reviews, and an average rating of 3.5/10, with the audience score coming in at 25%.[5]

Box office

The film was a box office bomb. The film has grossed $127,259 in the US, £443,269 in the UK, $4,692,430 in Germany and $21,178,934 in other countries for a worldwide total of $26,441,982, making it a commercial failure.[6]

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