In the present day, Dracula’s long-time servant, Renfield (Nicholas Hoult), has had enough of being enslaved. After Dracula is badly wounded in his most recent battle, he requires blood from the purest souls to help him rebuild. At the same time, Renfield has been sitting in on community help sessions and has gained the confidence in himself that he needs to support his desire to help others in need.
It’s only a short time until Renfield ends up in trouble while attempting to help others and wrestling with his servanthood requirements to Dracula. Redfield finds himself in a significant war between a crime family who rules the city and the Police who continue to fight against them. One Police Officer is Rebecca (Awkwafina), who is still seeking revenge for losing her father and won’t back down without a good fight. When Renfield saves Rebecca, a new friendship is developed and perhaps even something more. Now Renfield and Rebecca are forced to work together to stay alive while a large crime family tries to hunt them down. Meanwhile, Dracula continues to attempt world domination despite his slow regeneration.
Renfield is best described as a comedy movie with a strong fantasy aspect. It’s a great concept that plays with the idea of what the world would be like if Dracula and Renfield continued to roam our city streets. Those who love all things horror will also be pleased by Renfield. Bodies explode, blood and guts fly around, heads are removed, and limbs are torn off bodies and used like nunchakus. Blood and gore aside, plenty of fun horror moments and creative concepts pay tribute to the legendary Dracula and Renfield, especially through visuals and costume design. Watching how Dracula and Renfield first met is a perfect example of this.
Performance-wise, it should be no surprise that actor Nicolas Cage steals the film here. He is excellent as Dracula and plays the role with energy, creating a sometimes loud, fun or creepy character. Nicholas Hoult and Awkwafina are pleasing, but their performance and characters feel familiar, particularly Awkwafina as Rebecca. The sound design is awesome right from the start. Action scenes are loaded with flesh-tearing, smashes, and big thuds, all of which are enjoyable here. The action scenes are pleasing for the most part, but some moments in the fast-paced action style are hard to keep up with, despite the occasional moment of slow motion.
Overall, this is bloody fun. It comes as no surprise that actor Nicolas Cage glitters as Dracula. The excellent concept is delightful and asks what mischief could happen if Dracula and Renfield roamed our city streets in the present day. It’s also extremely wacky and wild with its violence and action- limbs are torn off, bodies explode, heads are removed, and so on. The story, for the most part, is fun but is nothing overly impacting, and leading performances from Nicholas Hoult and Awkwafina are fine. Thankfully, it contains outstanding amounts of energy and creativity, such as its visuals and costume designs. Movie lovers will walk out having had a great time in some shape or dark form.
Renfield (2023) is Now Available in Australian Cinemas!