Renfield Review

Reviews Films




Universal Pictures and director Chris McKay, (The LEGO Batman Movie), invite you to suck on Renfield. A modern kind of sequel to 1931’s Dracula, yes, that one with Bela Lugosi. In short, it’s pretty fun, it doesn’t suck!

Renfield stars Nicholas Hoult as the titular ghoul and Nicholas Cage as the infamous count, both of whom need no introduction. The film acts as a situation comedy first, action horror flick second while stopping along the way to pay homage to about seventy odd years of Dracula film history.

This is spoilery, so please skip to the final paragraph if you want to go in fresh. Renfield picks up in early 2020’s New Orleans and revolves around our buddy R.M becoming disillusioned with the last ninety years of ghoulish servitude to his vampiric master. Feeling guilt and malcontent over stalking and delivering countless fair and innocent to the slaughter, R.M switches it up to delivering the guilty and evil of society whom he learns about by attending support groups for domestic violence and toxic relationship victims.

However, Dracula, attempting to recover from his last near death experience (and sporting practical make-up effects that would make Rick Baker weak at the knees), is on to R.M’s change of heart and yearns for the pure drop over the current dregs.

All this sets up a narrative that pits Renfield against himself, his master and a crime family that enjoys the sadism and corruption it wields to remain at the top of the corpse pile. Supported by Rebecca Quincy, (Nora Lum aka Awkwafina), Renfield chews bugs, pummels, leaps and slashes his way to victory while leaving a tonne of dismembered corpses and buckets of gore in his wake.

Nicholas Cage’s performance as Dracula, as expected, is flawlessly Nicholas Cage. A master stroke in casting. Not just for the Cageisms, of which there are many, there are moments of pause where set dressing, costume and style can almost convince us that we’re watching Lugosi all over again.

Nicholas Hoult’s comedy chops have been proven before in The Great, and this is once again showcased as the tortured R.M Renfield. Nora Lum (Crazy Rich Asians) also excels in her portrayal of frustrated and failed adulting, as a second generation cop trying to find justice for her father’s death at the hands of the aforementioned crime family.

Despite a few noticeably easy plot choices propelling the action, Renfield is a satisfying watch for fans of both comedy and body horror, frequently and consistently hitting the beats of both genres. It has been difficult to decide a critical score, is it a seven, is it an eight, it’s somewhere in between. It’s not quite The Other Guys and not up there with Evil Dead Rise, but it reaches and pulls off a 7.5/10 blood bags.

Luke is writing short stories, screenplays and film reviews when he's not at the day job or looking after the needs of his family. So one Powerball...