Renfield, directed by Chris McKay (The Lego Batman Movie) and scripted by Ryan Ridley (RIck and Morty), is a horror comedy and dark fantasy film that tells the story of henchman Renfield, starring Nicholas Hoult, who works for Count Dracula, starring Nicolas Cage. Even though he is devoted to his immortal boss, he decides to leave his job after falling in love with a fumbling cop named Rebecca Quincy starring Awkwafina. To start off let’s talk about the thing that shines the most during the film: Nicolas Cage as Dracula, as I think the role of Dracula was a dream for Cage here, he really shines with exceptional makeup and more than phenomenal acid humor, but also virtually guarantees that we will have a manic, crazy, lunatic bombastic performance, and Cage does not disappoint at any point.
The makeup in the film is pretty amazing but again the makeup shines in Count Dracula, sometimes with his skin completely peeled off, sometimes with his skin entirely burned and stained, and sometimes with only his skeleton showing, the makeup in the film is very good indeed. Renfield has a curious humor that might work for some people, but some people might totally repudiate the humor in the movie, sometimes it uses a more acid humor, and sometimes a more sarcastic humor like Dracula saying that good blood would be nuns blood or a bunch of cheerleaders blood, but sometimes the humor goes a bit over the top when it comes to the gore and exaggerated violence, the movie itself uses lots and lots of buckets of blood, the gore is very explicit in front of you, like a priest exploding, hands being cut off, and even a character exploding even feces coming out of his body, an exaggerated gore that may please many people, but that can also keep many people away from the movie, for me my only defects with the excessive gore of the film would be the special effects itself where the blood sometimes seems a little fake and a little too artificial, but nothing that takes you out of the movie. Nicholas Hoult is very good throughout the movie, his character manages to be highlighted in every scene he appears in, being a comical tone, a dramatic tone, and even in the action scenes where the character most shines on screen.
The villain of Renfield is called Teddy Lobo, played by Ben Schwartz, who is nothing more than a generic villain of any movie we’ve ever seen before, the drug-exporting bandit who has many henchmen and weapons, nothing beyond the ordinary, but even so Ben Schwartz manages to bring something a little more unique that would be the introduction of humor to the character, a character who pretends to be a thick skinned guy but is nothing more than an unprotected mama’s boy, this creates several super funny scenes between Teddy Lobo, Renfield and Rebecca (Awkwafina). Rebecca, Awkwafina’s character, is nothing more or less than a messed up cop that Renfield ends up falling in love with and tries to change his tiresome and slavish way of working, she would be the starting point of the movie to create a “Villain” for the movie and also a starting point for the story to develop and not stay in the same old way, but even though she is essential to the story in some way, she ends up being overlooked during most of the movie and really turned to make some joke. The film starts with some scenes in black and white with a narrator talking on top, something extremely creative for the purpose of the film, making a clear reference to the old monster movies from Universal like Frankenstein.
As I had previously mentioned the action of the film is totally based on gore, but almost always the action scenes are very repetitive, which would revolve around Renfield eating a bug to gain their “powers” and leave removing limbs from someone and crushing them with themselves, something very repetitive that can get very tired after you see some 2 to 3 times. To finish, always when we have Nicolas Cage in a movie is already a reason enough to want to see it, but as here is a film much more worked with a budget until very high is a guaranteed fun to see with your friends at night, the film promises and meets everything it proposes in its duration of about 1 hour and a half, nothing out of the ordinary, but as I said if you’re the kind of person who does not like much violence exposed in your face Renfield is not the movie for you, a lot of blood, gore, and lots of funny scenes, Renfield ends up as the funniest film of 2023 so far.
‘Renfield’ releases in theaters on April 14