FILM REVIEW: Renfield
Renfield takes place in modern-day New Orleans and tells the story of Dracula’s not-so-faithful servant who longs for a life free from his master. Attending group therapy sessions in between bringing victims to his master, Renfield finally plucks up the courage to live his own life.
A fun spin on the classic tale, Renfield unfortunately shows most of its cards in the trailer, which after seeing you will be savvy to most of the film’s originality: Renfield is in a toxic relationship with Dracula and wants out. Nicholas Hoult brings an innocent charm to the vulnerable Renfield, a tortured man with a hidden power, and Nicolas Cage is as madcap and menacing as you’d want him to be as the blood-sucking Prince of Darkness, truly a dream role for the offbeat thespian. These two carry the film and their dynamic should have been the focal point of the entire movie, but instead they are forced to share screen time with Awkwafina in an unimpressive and unbelievable role as a bitter cop wanting revenge on a generic family mob who rule the city.
The dialogue is amusing but rarely hilarious, more focused on trying to be cooler than it is, but where the film truly and surprisingly excels is the action. Renfield is essentially a reluctant superhero, a role that Hoult is accustomed to from the X-Men films, and the fight scenes mix genuine choreography with fulfilling superhero action and way more gore than you’d expect in a comedy, culminating in some real laugh-out-loud moments and a final fight that you can’t wait to see unfold.
Renfield has enough fun, gory action in it to be a diverting experience and the lead performances of Hoult and Cage in these iconic roles are worth the price of admission alone. But in its lesser moments, it is a blandly predictable, generic offering unfit for the Count.