Director: Chris McKay
Writer: Ryan Ridley
Starring: Nicholas Hoult, Awkwafina, Ben Schwartz, Adrian Martinez, Shohreh Aghdashloo, and Nicolas Cage
After a century of being Dracula’s (Nicolas Cage) servant, Renfield (Nicholas Hoult) is starting to want more out of life. He doesn’t want to be a villain, doing his master’s bidding, so instead of going after innocent victims like his master wants, he attends a co-dependency support group and targets the people abusing the other attendees. While he’s there, he realises that he’s dependent on Dracula and starts to break free, but gets mixed up in a local mob family that run New Orleans.
It’s amazing that it’s taken this long for Nicolas Cage to be cast as Dracula. It’s perfect casting and has been staring Hollywood in the face for decades. Even though Renfield is the main character, it’s Dracula that steals the show. Cage is simply fantastic in the role. He’s very funny at every opportunity, and is by far the best thing about Renfield. Even though they’re upstaged by Cage, the rest of the cast are also really good and the film is always entertaining even if the Count isn’t on screen. Awkwafina and Nicholas Hoult have good chemistry between them, and have a lot of funny moments, and Ben Schwartz is just as good as he always is.
There is absolutely buckets of blood spilled throughout the film, which isn’t surprising considering it’s about vampires, but Dracula lets a lot of meals go to waste as he kills people. Lots of beheadings and limbs being cut off. It’s all goofy and over-the-top, so it’s funny and not overly gory or scary to watch. It’s a full-on comedy with a little bit of horror thrown in. There’s also a suprising amount of exciting action sequences throughout the story, with great choreography and a good sense of humour to it all. It’s a seriously funny film, with a lot of great jokes, that aren’t spoilt by the trailer at all.
While the film does rely on a few clichés, such as a narrator that starts in the middle of the story with a ‘yeah that’s me, now let me tell you how I got here’ opening, and incredibly dumb exposition filled dialogue, there are some really great stylish moments as well. The backstory for Renfield is shot in a way that mimics the Bela Lugosi classic, which is fantastically done, the excellent action, and Dracula’s lair looks incredible, with blood bags hanging from the ceiling and a dark and gloomy atmosphere that fits the Lord of Death.
Renfield is a breath of fresh air when it comes to telling Dracula’s story. It’s silly, funny, and overall a good time. Cage is playing the role he was born to play and doesn’t disappoint at all.
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Thanks for the review of this one! One glance and I realized Cage makes an awesome Dracula and also wonder now why it took so long to cast him in the part. Maybe we’ll see him again in another, possibly a more serious one. That said, some of his movies have been hit and miss, I see him a lot of ways like Bruce Willis, where they take on so many roles they can’t all be hits, or even decent. So I had reservations about this one, key word being had after reading this. Now I want to see it.