Renfield, Dracula’s henchman and inmate at the lunatic asylum for decades, longs for a life away from the Count, his various demands, and all of the bloodshed that comes with them.
There have been numerous iterations of ‘Dracula’ on the big screen over the years, and here comes another one in the guise of a horror-comedy, focusing on R.M. Renfield (Nicholas Hoult), Dracula’s (Nicolas Cage) familiar. Those familiar (pun intended!) with vampire lore will know what a familiar is but essentially it is a vampire’s servant, whose jobs include finding safe and dark places for their vampire to live, and of course to bring them fresh humans for them to consume. The Renfield in this iteration has been with Dracula for around 100 years and is looking for a change, worried that he’s became stuck in a co-dependent relationship. That forms the basis for this 90 minute movie that manages to pack a lot into its runtime, most notably a criminals and corrupt cops angle that Renfield and Dracula get caught up in.
‘Renfield’ is kind of all over the place but I did enjoy it, even as it’s one of those movies I’ll have forgotten about after a few days. The best parts are when we have Nic Cage chewing the scenery, and I did think that we could have done with more time with him and Hoult together as opposed to focusing on less interesting subplots. There’s a decent supporting cast, with Ben Schwartz’s particular brand of energy a good fit for the material as one of the main villains, while Awkwafina is decent as the seemingly only non-corrupt cop (even if that subplot doesn’t quite take), but in story terms there isn’t anything particularly surprising to get the audience more invested.
As throwaway gory fun, ‘Renfield’ hits the mark, but it doesn’t do much more than that, which is a shame to an extent given Hoult and Cage are both good in the main roles.
Directed By: Chris McKay
Starring: Nicholas Hoult, Nicolas Cage, Awkwafina, Ben Schwartz, Shohreh Aghdashloo, Brandon Scott Jones, Adrian Martinez and Camille Chen