Monster Family

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Monster Family
Monster Family poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byHolger Tappe
Produced byHolger Tappe
Screenplay byDavid Safier
Catharina Junk
Based onHappy Family
by David Safier
Music byHendrik Schwarzer
Edited byBjörn Teubner
Distributed byWarner Bros. (Germany)
Altitude Film Distribution (United Kingdom)
Release date
  • 24 August 2017 (2017-08-24) (Germany)
  • 2 March 2018 (2018-03-02) (United Kingdom)
Running time
96 minutes
CountriesUnited Kingdom
Budget$30 million
Box office$26.4 million[1]

Monster Family (also 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. It is based on David Safier's 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 was both a critical and financial failure: it was unanimously panned by critics, who criticized its voice acting, animation, writing and humor. It was also a box office bomb, only grossing $26.4 million against a $30 million budget.


The film begins in Transylvania, where Count Dracula laments about his loneliness with his three bat servants. Suddenly, he receives a phone call from Emma Wishbone, who has mistakenly called him instead of a monster costume store. Rotten luck bedevils Emma until she reaches her bookstore, where she complains to her co-worker and family friend Cheyenne of all the troubles plaguing her family:

  • Her own bookstore is in dire financial straits.
  • Her son Max is a victim of bullying due to his awkward and stereotypical mannerisms.
  • Her daughter Fay is a narcissistic teenager who continuously flirts with 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-themed costume party presented by Cheyenne. Though the family is clearly not in the mood for such an outing, they nevertheless reach their destination. They unexpectedly 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 guards deposit the family into the alleyway behind the building, where Emma finally snaps.

The bad evening only grows worse when Baba Yaga arrives to turn Emma into a vampire with a transformative curse. The spell works, but unexpectedly turns the rest of the family into the monsters they were portraying. Enraged, Emma chases down Baba Yaga while her family splits up to visit various spots around the city. Fay goes to her crush's house only to be rejected due to her appearance while Max stalks and scares the school bully. Emma eventually captures Baba Yaga and demands 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 London Eye.

After Baba Yaga escapes, the Wishbone family regroups at home and they realize they must catch Baba Yaga to return to normal. The Wishbones reach the airport, with help from Cheyenne - who is unafraid of the Wishbones' new appearance. Fay manages to get them on the plane after learning she can hypnotize people, which she does with abandon. On board 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 aboard his personal jet leaving her family on the passenger plane.

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 with her family. But when she refuses, Dracula unceremoniously tosses her from his jet.

As Emma regroups with her family by the London Eye, Dracula gets upset and tells his hunchback servant Renfield to prepare his snowflake machine to destroy the world in retaliation.

Meanwhile, Baba Yaga gets her amulet charged. When Emma confronts her and tries to take the amulet, Baba sends the family to Egypt. Cheyenne tries to help, but she ends up befriending and helping Baba Yaga. She tells Cheyenne about Dracula's plan to turn Emma into a monster. Baba Yaga also tells her about how he imprisoned her and said he would free her if she did what he asked. The only way for them to return to normal was to be happy as themselves despite their appearance.

Emma and the family hallucinates an oasis while in the deserts of Egypt, but soon snap out of it and realize that they have been unknowingly walking in a circle.

Dracula shows off the snowflake's power to his servant and swears revenge on the humans.

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

Dracula had been watching her. Seeing this, Dracula goes to get her as she wanders around until the bloodlust finally takes over. She attacks a couple of tourists, but Dracula narrowly saves them and takes her away to his castle.

Meanwhile, Frank comes across a stranded Jeep filled with models and Fay meets Imhotep. Imhotep tells Fay she is pretty and shows her how to use her mummy powers to become a sandstorm. Max gets mistaken for a piece of food by a dromedary and he chases it to a desert hotel with glass pyramids, where Frank also happens to be.

Dracula seeks to romance Emma in his castle. They dance. Though she refuses his advances at first, she eventually agrees to stay. After being shown to her beautiful new room, Emma realizes she misses her family. Cheyenne and Baba Yaga then suddenly appear and explain the truth about what Dracula had done to Baba Yaga.

Frank, Fay, and Max separately come to realize that their newfound luck does not compare to when they are together as a family. Fay learns that Imhotep plans to take over the world, Max learns that having people scared of you is not very fun, and Frank learns to be a better husband. Baba Yaga and Cheyenne then transport them to Dracula's castle.

Renfield tells them that if Emma does not marry Dracula, he will shoot a magical snowflake into the Sun, causing all life on earth to die - except for vampires as they do not require sunlight.

The family confronts Dracula, with the intention of pouring homemade holy water in his bath. 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 and 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, and the three bats crash the party. The family takes another photo together, showing their happiness.


  • Emily Watson as Emma Wishbone, Frank's wife and the mother of Fay and Max. She 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.
  • Ethan Rouse as Max Wishbone, the son of Emma and Frank who is turned into a werewolf.
  • Celia Imrie as Cheyenne, Emma's co-worker at her bookstore and family friend.
  • Catherine Tate as Baba Yaga, Dracula's former captive witch. She is responsible for turning the Wishbone family into monsters.
  • Jason Isaacs as Count Dracula, a vampire who becomes infatuated with Emma.
  • Ewan Bailey as Renfield, Baba Yaga's husband and Dracula's former butler.
  • Issac Rouse as Jayden, Fay's boyfriend.
  • Daniel Ben-Zenou as Imhotep, a mummy who teaches Fay how to use her mummy abilities.
  • Jessica McDonald as Sheila, Fay's schoolfriend.
  • Sidney Dorn as Bull, the school bully who picks on Max.
  • Emma Tate as Head Model
  • Dirk Stollberg, Jan Makino, and Rainer Fritzsche as Dracula's bats
  • Friedel Morgenstern


On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 10% based on 21 reviews, and an average rating of 3.40/10 The critical consensus reads: "Monster Family promises a family-friendly animated monster mash, but succeeds only in delivering a viewing experience so lackluster that parents may find it genuinely frightening."[5]

Box office[edit]

The film was a box office bomb. It 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.[1]


The film was theatrically released in the United Kingdom on 2 March 2018 and was released on Sky Cinema on the same day. Monster Family was released on DVD in the UK on 2 October 2018 by Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.


  1. ^ a b "Monster Family - International Takings". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved March 30, 2018.
  2. ^ "Animated HAPPY FAMILY Trailer: Friendly Monster Transformation". ScreenAnarchy. 16 June 2017.
  3. ^
  4. ^ "Monster Family trailer shows your bad day is better than the Wishbones' bad day". 11 January 2018.
  5. ^ "Monster Family (2018)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved March 30, 2021.

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