Renfield (2023) Review

A vampire comedy that didn't completely suck.

All I knew about Renfield when walking into the cinema was; it was a vampire movie starring Nicolas Cage, who needs no introduction, and Nicholas Hoult, the actor you always recognize from other movies but never know what his name is. And I can happily say I walked out of the cinema with a smile after having a good chuckle for a solid 90 minutes.

Hoult stars as the titular Renfield, loyal servant to the prince of darkness himself, Dracula (Cage). After serving Dracula for 90 years, bringing him his ‘dinners’, saving him from Vampire Hunters and enduring years of abuse. Renfield finds himself in the modern day, at a co-dependent relationship help group. Where he starts to wonder if he really is in a toxic relationship with his boss.

Let’s make one thing clear, Renfield is a movie that doesn’t take itself seriously. And if that’s not made abundantly clear by the opening scene, the appearance of Awkwafina as Detective Rebecca Quincy and Ben Schwartz as Teddy Lobo will confirm it for you. I definitely found Renfield to be a refreshing movie. Maybe that because theaters are once again saturated with DC and Marvel movies and everything kind of starts to feel the same. Renfield though, it was a weird mix of “what’s the funniest way someone can dismember another person” and somehow trying to tell me that “toxic relationships are bad and you are strong enough by yourself”. It was nice to just have a good laugh.

As far as performances go, I absolutely loved Cage’s take on Dracula. While Renfield is a comedy, every time Cage was on screen, it felt like a horror movie. His presence always captivated me in every scene he was in. I honestly feel like there wasn’t enough Cage screen time. Of course, the movie is based around Hoult’s Renfield, but this is Nicolas Cage we’re talking about. Speaking of, Nicholas Hoult does a great job of portraying Renfield. Was it something Oscar worth? No. But did he do a good enough job with a script that contains a man getting impaled by someone else’s served arm? Yes.

One of the highlights of the movie for me were the fight scenes. As I mentioned earlier, it honestly feels like the writing and choreography team were just told to let their imaginations run wild. While most of the fights were great to watch, there were certainly some moments where it did feel a bit lazy as the camera would change scenes every “hit” to try and cover up the fact that the actors weren’t actually hitting each other. I only really noticed this during the last quarter of the movie, but everything else up until that point was like watching different Mortal Kombat fatalities.

Outside of the funny visuals, one liners and gallons of blood being spilt, there was some remnant of a story taking place. The Renfield plot moved so fast I was honestly surprised how quickly the end of the movie came about. This is definitely not a movie that will be remembered for all the lessons we learnt by the end. Outside of the 3 main set pieces, the plot was just a vehicle to tell a couple of funny jokes and then move onto the next splatter fest.

Overall, Renfield was a fine movie. If you want something mindless, chuckle-worthy and a fantastic Dracula performance from Nicolas Cage, check out Renfield.

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