At first, I thought the 2023 movie Renfield is going to be just another commercial blunder starring Nic Cage. However, Renfield turned out to be an intelligent, entertaining, and quite bloody horror comedy. Plus, we’ve got the chance to see Nic Cage as a vampire, playing none other than count Dracula himself. So, we will be following the eponymous Renfiled, Dracula’s right hand as after ninety years of loyal service he’s just had enough. He realizes he’s in a toxic relationship and a bad work environment and decides to do something about it. The premise is excellent as it offers a new and refreshing take on the age-old vampire story.
I appreciate any content that talks about the evil that is our tribal/capitalist environment. We all sympathize with Renfield as we’ve also been exploited at some point in our lives. Whether that was a romantic or a work relationship (or both), all of us have tasted those bitter tears. I better stop here before I bore you to death and answer a couple of important questions. First of all, Renfield is a movie worth watching featuring an excellent script, great cinematography, and solid production values.
The budget was $65 million which means that the CGI, make-up, and practical effects all look good and believable. And there will be a surprising amount of action here. Secondly, with the short running time of just ninety minutes and brisk pacing, the movie was just fun. It wasn’t pretentious or anything like that. And finally, the cast did a terrific job led by Nicholas Hoult and slightly unhinged Nic Cage. We’ve also got Awkwafina (Raya and the Last Dragon) and Ben Schwartz (Parks and Recreation).
A 12-step self-help group for persons in co-dependent relationships just opened its doors to its latest member, Renfield. He’s a familiar who has some co-dependency issues spanning over ninety years he has been in service with his master, Count Dracula. Also dependent on eating bugs, Renfield has finally had enough and wants to break free from this toxic relationship. However, that will be much harder than he thinks. And just at the moment he gave up, he sees a brave cop that inspires him…
After all this praise, it’s time for some sobering truths. While Renfield is a movie that’s entertaining, it’s also quite forgettable. It’s been two days since I saw it and I already forgot most of the story. I know what’s going on in general but the specifics elude me. Considering the potency of the main premise, I think this is a huge flaw. Just imagine how subversive this movie could’ve been with a bit more work. Still, what it lacks in depth Renfield makes up in the over-the-top department. We will see a bit of everything from decapitations over blood sprinklers to gruesome maimings.
This makes the movie quite different from the popular What We Do In The Shadows franchise. It’s also interesting to note that Nicholas Hoult already starred in a similarly themed horror comedy with zombies instead of vampires. I’m talking about, of course, the 2013 movie Warm Bodies. Finally, there’s really not that much to talk about here, so you better get read for some gruesome fun with Renfield.
Director: Chris McKay
Writers: Ryan Ridley, Robert Kirkman, Ava Tramer
Cast: Nicholas Hoult, Nicolas Cage, Awkwafina, Ben Schwartz, Shohreh Aghdashloo, Adrian Martinez
Fun Facts: This is not the first vampire who’s an asshole Nic Cage played as he also starred in Vampire’s Kiss (1988).