Verdict: Renfield is a mixed bag, but overall, it is an entertaining bloodbath with a scene-stealing turn from Nicolas Cage

  • Nicholas Hoult, Nicolas Cage, Awkwafina
  • April 14th 2023
  • Chris McKay

Nicholas Hoult and Nicolas Cage play Renfield and his master Dracula in this blood-soaked horror comedy.

Nicolas Cage and Dracula are a match made in cinema heaven.

He stars in Chris McKay’s horror comedy alongside Nicholas Hoult as the long-suffering R.M. Renfield.

His longtime lackey is truly fed up with living a life of servitude and killing people for Dracula to feed on. He wants to break free – but it’s not quite that easy.

While scouting around for his next victim, Renfield encounters drug lord Teddy Lobo (Ben Schwartz), heir of the Lobo crime family.

The Lobos, led by matriarch Ella (Shohreh Aghdashloo), have the New Orleans police force under their thumb and get away with anything.

Traffic cop Rebecca (Awkwafina) is determined to bring the Lobos to justice and she works together with Renfield to put a stop to the Lobos and Dracula.

Renfield is not for the squeamish – it is very gory and bloody, with decapitations, severed limbs and exploded bodies left right and centre.

It is also surprisingly action-packed. Renfield is able to channel Dracula’s power by eating bugs and they give him superhuman strength – hence the brutal violence.

But the horror should not be taken seriously as this is a comedy through and through.

Everything is played for laughs and Ryan Ridley’s script is fun, witty and packed with laugh-out-loud moments.

However, the film tries to be many things at the same time – horror, comedy, action, romance and crime – and by taking on so much, it loses focus and feels quite chaotic, particularly in the third act. It would have worked better with less of the crime family.

But, at the end of the day, most people are watching Renfield to see Cage as Dracula and he does not disappoint.

His performance is big, OTT, camp and hilarious. The costume and make-up teams also deserve a shout-out for bringing his look to life.

However, this is Hoult’s film and he easily holds his own. Renfield is quirky and his attempts to be a normal person in 2023 are amusing.

Brandon Scott Jones also brings a lot of value as Mark, the support group leader.

Renfield tries to achieve too much, with mixed results, but overall, it is an entertaining bloodbath with a scene-stealing turn from Cage.

In cinemas from Friday 14th April.

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