Discover more from The Mendez Movie Report
Sucks To Be Him
Having grown sick and tired of his centuries as Dracula’s lackey, Renfield finds a new lease on life, and maybe even redemption, when he falls for feisty, perennially angry, traffic cop Rebecca Quincy.
There is perhaps no Actor today that swings for the fences with such out-of-the-box performances than Nicolas Cage. Fresh off his widely lauded performances in 2021’s Pig and 2022’s The Unbearable Weight Of Massive Talent, Cage now dons the cape of the one and only Dracula for the new spinoff film Renfield. Its a role that has been hyped up online since it was announced Cage would be playing the iconic monster, though as the title portends the main focus of the film is really the count’s minion Renfield, played by another Nick in Nicholas Hoult - with Awkwafina playing the sort-of love interest in cop Rebecca Quincy.
While this is first and foremost a comedy, it is very much a horror film as well. There is tons of blood, gore, and body parts getting chopped off all at the expense of a pretty high body count. There are moments when the lore of the original 1931 movie is celebrated with scenes that are eerily good recreations of clips from the Bela Lugosi classic which just so happens to be one of my all-time favorite movies.
Every time Cage’s Dracula is onscreen he steals the show, and he’s undoubtedly the best part of the movie. While Hoult and Awkwafina have some nice chemistry and made me chuckle a few times, whenever they are the focus and not Cage the movie suffered for me.
You’d think that Dracula himself would make a fine enough main villain, but for whatever reason the film decided to make a bumbling group of mobsters more central antagonists to the plot towards the end than the lord of darkness. It made me feel like the classic lore of the vampire was taking a backseat to generic and boring modern villains that didn’t do anything for me. I really wish the movie had just gone with dealing with the count as the sole focus rather than adding an extra mobster element for some comedic and action parts.
Ultimately I came away mixed with Renfield. When Dracula and Renfield’s toxic co-dependency was the central focus it had me more invested than when the comedic mobsters came around the corner to trigger fight scenes. The humor was hit-and-miss for me, and frankly probably more miss than not. But there is a respect for the legacy of the original 1931 movie, and you do get your blood and gore if you’re here for the horror elements.
I can see this becoming a Fright Night type of cult classic in the decades to come. There’s definitely an audience out there for this. I may end up in the minority when all is said and done. But for me, as much I tried to like it, I came away underwhelmed and thinking that I could have just seen this on Netflix rather than on the big screen. I’m gonna’ land for now at a C+ for Renfield. If you’re all in for blood and guts and the few moments you get of Cage hamming it up (in a good way), you should have fun. If you were hoping for the movie to aspire to more, you may come away disappointed.