Renfield

April 14, 202360/1006 min
Starring
Nicolas Cage, Nicholas Holt, Awkwafina
Written by
Ryan Ridley ( screenplay), Robert Kirkman ( based on the original idea by)
Directed by
Chris McKay
Run Time
1h 33min
Release Date
April 14th, 2023
Overall Score
Rating Summary

       I am at a point in my film-watching where I will see anything that Nicolas Cage is in. Mostly because with him, you know you are going to get his all.  So you know I was going to be all in on Renfield, because not only is it a movie about Dracula, its Nicolas Cage playing Dracula, need I say more? I will start with regardless of what I say in the rest of this review, know that Cage once again delivers, so you know that if anything Renfield is going to be pretty entertaining.

     Over the last century, Dracula ( Nicolas Cage) and his familiar, Renfield (Nicholas Hoult) have been killing people for food in New Orleans. But are forced to move after their welcome runs out. Seems people don’t like being a food supply for an immortal. If you don’t know, a familiar is basically a vampire’s slave, as he is the guy who takes care of him and his needs. Renfield though is starting to have doubts about his relationship with Dracula, and starts to seek help in the form of group meetings. Those meetings also serve as dinner scouting, as he feeds Dracula these people’s problems. During one of Renfield’s soul searching/ food pickups, he finds himself in the middle of a hit on Rebecca (Awkaafina), a police officer who has gotten a little too annoying for a crime boss named Tedward Lobo (Ben Schwartz).  Renfield saves the day and saves Rebecca’s life and sets him up on the road to leave Dracula for good. Although that might be his plan, Dracula is not a fan of that idea and after letting Renfield know even teams up with the Lobo’s who he sees as being on the same page. Now Dracula and his new crew is all that stands in the way of Renfield’s freedom and Dracula’s continuing rule.

The script written by Ryan Ridley and Robert Kirkman seems to be telling two stories that run parallel that only intersect at certain times. That being said it works for the most part, but is also somewhat clumsy, still manages to add to the cartoonishly and sometimes slapstick comedy. Where Renfield does score is in its often over the top violence, where people meet their demise in all sort of bloody ways. Lots of CGI blood is spilled, but there is also some great practical effects here as well, especially when it comes to Cage’s Dracula.

Renfield for sure has its flaws, but when it is good, it is highly entertaining and that is exactly what you want in a movie like this. Though the script at times feels empty as the side story about Rebecca and her family don’t really feel needed. That though is small potatoes when you compare it to what works, like the over the top violence, the great sight gags, and the always enjoyable performance by Cage that is simply a chef’s kiss. It’s the good mix of goofiness and gore and Cage that give what you need to conceal the moments that don’t quite land. Renfield ends up being a good addition to the Dracula universe and really hope that this becomes a good expectations for whatever other Universal Monsters stories we have ahead of us.

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